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Full text of "Narrative of the circumnavigation of the globe by the Austrian frigate Novara, (Commodore B. von Wullerstorf-Urbair,) : undertaken by order of the imperial government, in the years l857,1858, & 1859, under the immediate auspices of His I. and R. Highness the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Navy"

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Circumnavigation of the Globe 




Undertaken by Order of the Imperial Go'vernment, 

IN THE YEARS 1857, 1^58, & 1859, 














Historical details respecting this Arcliipelago. — Arrival at Kar-Nicobar. — Com- 
niuuicatiou with the Aborigines. — Tillage of Saoui and " Captain Johu." — 
Meet with two white men. — Journey to the south side of the Island. — Village 
of Komios. — Forest Scenery. — Batte-Malve. — Tillangschong. — Arrival and 
stay at Nangkauri Harbour. — Village of Itoe. — Peak Mongkata on Kamorta. 
—Villages of Enuang and Malacca. — Tripjet, the first settlement of the Mo- 
ravian Brothers. — Uliila Cove. — Voyage through the Archipelago. — The 
Island of Treis. — Pulo Miu. — Pandauus Eorest, — St. George's Channel. — 
Island of Kondul. — Departure for the northern coast of Great Nicobar. — 
Mangrove Swamp. — Malay traders. — Remarks upon the natives of Great 
Nicobar. — Disaster to a boat dispatched to make Geodetical observations. — 
Visit to the Southern Bay of Great Nicobar. — General results obtained during 
the stay of the Expedition in this Ai'chipelago. — Nautical, Climatic, and 
Geoguostic observations. — Vegetation. — Animal Life. — Ethnography. — Pros- 
pects of this group of Islands in the way of settlement and cultivation. — 
Voyage to the Straits of Malacca. — Arrival at Singapore .... 



Position of the Island. — Its previous history. — Sir Stamford RafBes' propositions 
to make it a port of the British Government free to all sea-faring nations. — 
The Island becomes part of the Crown property of England. — Extraordinary 
development under the auspices of a Free Trade policy. — Our stay shortened 
in consequence of the severity of the cholera. — Description of the city. — 
Tigers. — Gambir. — The Betel plantations. — Inhabitants. — Chinese and Eu- 
ropean labour. — Climate. — Diamond merchants. — Preparation of Pearl Sago. 
— Opium farms. — Opium manufacture. — Opium smokers. — Intellectual ac- 
-tivity. — Journalism. — Logan's "Journal of the Indian Archipelago." — School 


vi Contents. 


for Malay children. — Judicial procedure. — Visit to the penal settlement for 
coloured criminals. — A Chinese provision-merchant at business and at home. 
— Fatal accident on board. — Departure from Singapore. — Difficulty in pass- 
ing through Gaspar Straits. — Sporadic outbreak of cholera on board. — Death 
of one of the ship's boys. — First burial at sea. — Sea-snakes. — Arrival in the 
Roads of Batavia 137 



Old and New Batavia. — Splendid reception. — Scientific societies. — Public insti- 
tutions. — Natives. — A Malay embassy. — Excursion into the interior. — 
Buitenzorg. — The Botanic Garden. — The Negro.— Prince Aquasie Boaehi. — 
Pondok Gedeh. — The infirmary at Gadok, and Dr. Bernstein. — Megamen- 
doeng. — Javanese villages. — Tjipannas. — Ascent of Pangerango. — Forest 
scenery. — Javanese resting-houses or Pasanggrahans. — Night and morning 
on the summit of the volcano. — Visit to Gunung Gedeh. — The plantations of 
Peruvian bark -trees in Tjipodas. — Their actual condition. — Conjectures as to 
the future. — Voyage to Bandong. — Spots vrhere edible swallovrs' nests are 
found. — Hospitable reception by a Javanese prince. — Visit to Dr. Junghuhn 
in Lembang. — Coffee cultivation. — Decay in value of the coffee bean of Java. 
— Professor Vriese and the coffee planters of Java.— Free trade and mo- 
nopoly. — Compulsory and free labour. — Ascent of the volcano of Tangkuban- 
Prahu. — Poison Crater and King's Crater. — A geological excursion to a por- 
tion of the Preanger Regency. — Native fete given by the Javanese Regent 
of Tjiaujocr. — A day at the Governor-general's country-seat at Buitenzorg. 
— Return to Batavia.— Ball given by the military club in honour of the No- 
vara. — Raden Saleh, a Javanese artist. — Barracks and prisons. — Meester 
Coruelis. — French opera. — Constant changes among the European society. 
— Aims of the colonial government. — Departure from Batavia. — Pleasant 
voyage. — An English ship with Chinese Coolies.— Bay of Manila. — Arrival in 
Cavite harbour 180 



Historical notes relating to the Philippines. — From Cavite to Manila. — The river 
Pasig. — First impressions of the city. — Its inhabitants. — Tagales and Ne- 
gritoes. — Preponderating influence of monks. — Visit to the four chief monas- 
teries. — Conversation with an Augustine Monk. — Grammars and Dictionaries 
of the idioms chiefly in use in Manila. — Reception by the Governor-general of 



the Pbilippiues. — Monument in honour of MagelhaiJns. — The " Calzada." — 
Cock-fighting. — " Fiestas llcales." — Causes of the languid trade with Europe 
hitherto. — Visit to the Cigar-manufactories. — Tobacco cultivation in Luzon 
and at the Havanna. — Abaca, or Manila hemp. — Excursion to the " Laguna 
do Bay." — A row on the river Pasig. — The village of Patero. — Wild-duck 
breeding. — Sail on the Lagoon. — Plans for canalization. — Arrival at Los 
Banos. — Canoe-trip on the "enchanted sea." — Alligators. — Kalong Bats. — 
Gobernador and Gobernadorcillo. — The Poll-tax. — A hunt in the swamps of 
Calamba. — Padre Lorenzo. — lleturn to Manila. — The " Pebete." — The mili- 
tary Library. — The civil and military Hospital. — Ecclesiastical processions. — 
Ave Maria. — Tagalian merriness. — Condiman.— Lunatic Asylum. — Gigantic 
serpent thirty-two years old. — Departure. — Chinese pilots. — First glimpse of 
the coasts of the Celestial Empire. — The Lemmas Channel. — Arrival in Hong- 
kong Harbour 281 



Rapid increase of the colony of Victoria or Hong-kong. — Disagreeables. — Public 
character. — The Comprador, or "factotum." — A Chinese fortune-teller. — 
Curiosity-stalls. — The To-stone. — Pictures on so-called "rice-paper." — Canton 
English.— Notices on the Chinese language and mode of writing. — Manufac- 
ture of ink. — Hospitality of German missionaries. — The custom of exposing 
and murdering female children. — Method of dwarfing the female foot. — Sir 
John Bowriug. — Branch Institute of the Royal Asiatic Society. — An ecclesi- 
astical dignitary on the study of natural sciences. — The Chinese in the East 
Indies. — Green indigo or Lu-Kao. — Kind reception by German countrymen. 
— Anthropometrical measurements. — Ramble to Little Hong-kong. — Excur- 
sion to Canton on board H. M. gun-boat Alger'me. — A day at the English 
head-quarters. — The Treaty of Tien-Tsin. — Visit to the Portuguese settlement 
of Macao. — Herr von Carlowitz. — Camoens' Grotto. — Church for Protestants. 
— Pagoda Makok. — Dr. Kane.— Present position of the colony. — Slave-trade 
revived under the name of Chinese emigration. — Excursions round Macao. — 
The Isthmus. — Chinese graves. — Praya Granite. — A Chinese physician.— 
Singing stones. — Departure. — GutzlafF's Island. — Voyage up the Yang-tse- 
Kiang. — Wusung. — Arrival at Shanghai 355 



A stroll through the old Chinese quarter. — Book-stalls.— Public Baths. — Chinese 
Pawnbrokers. — Foundling hospital. — The Hall of Universal Benevolence. — 

viii Contents. 


Sacrificial Hall of Medical Taculty. — City prison. — Temple of the Goddess of 
the Sea. — Chinese taverns. — Tea-garden. — Temple of Buddha. — Temple of 
Confucius. — Taouist convent. — Chinese nuns. — An apothecary's store, and 
what is sold therein. — Public schools. — Christian places of worship. — Native 
industry. — Cenotaphs to the memory of beneficent females. — A Chinese pa- 
trician family. — The villas of the foreign merchants. — Activity of the London 
Missionary Society. — Dr. Hobson. — Chinese medical works. — Leprosy. — The 
American Missionary Society. — Dr. Bridgman. — Main-tze tribe. — Mission 
schools for Chinese boys and girls. — The North-China branch of the Royal Asi- 
atic Society. — Meeting in honour of the Members of the Novara Expedition. 
— Mons. de Montigny. — Baron Gros. — Interview with the Tau-Tai, or chief 
Chinese official of the city. — The Jesuit mission at Sikkawei. — The Pagoda of 
Long-Sah. — A Chinese dinner. — Serenade by the German singing-club. — The 
Germans in China. — Influence of the Treaties of Tien-Tsiu and Pekiu upon 
commerce. — Silk. — Tea. — The Chinese sugar-cane. — Various species of Bam- 
' boos employed in the manufacture of paper. — The varnish-tree. — The tallow- 
tree. — The wax-tree. — Mosquito tobacco. — Articles of import. — Opium. — The 
Tai-ping rebels. — Departure from Slianghai. — A typhoon in the China sea. — 
Sight the island of Puynipet in the Caroline Archipelago .... 416 



Native boats in sight. — A pilot comes on board — Communications of a white settler. 
— Another pilot. — Eruitless attempts to tack for the island. — Boankiddi Har- 
bour. — Extreme difficulty in effecting a landing with the boats.— Settlement 
of Rei. — Dr. Cook. — Stroll through the forest. — Excursions up the Roankiddi 
River. — American missionaries. — Visit from the king of the Roankiddi tribe. 
— Kawa as a beverage. — Interior of the royal abode. — The Queen. — Mode of 
living, habits and customs of the natives. — Their religion and mode of wor- 
ship. — Their festivals and dances. — Ancient monumental records and their 
probable origin. — Importance of these in both a historical and geological point 
of view. — Return on board. — Suspicious conduct of the white settler. — An 
asylum for contented delinquents. — Under weigh for Australia. — Belt of 
calms. — Simpson Island. — "It must be a ghost ! "-r- Bradley Reef. — A 
Comet. — The Solomon Islands. — Rencontre with the natives of Malayta. — In 
sight of Sikayana 551 



Natives on board. -Good prospects of fresh provisions. — An interment on board. 

Contents, ix 


— A uight scene. — Visit to tlie Island Group. — Faole. — Trip ashore to Si- 
kayana. — Narrative of an English sailor. — Cruelty of merchantmen in the 
South Sea Islands. — Tradition as to the origin of the inhabitants of Sikayana. 
— A king. — Barter. — Keligion of the natives. — Trepaug. — Method of pre- 
paring this sea-slug for the Chinese market. — Dictionary of the native lan- 
guage. — Under sail. — He de Contrariete. — Stormy weather. — Spring a leak. 
— Bampton Beef. — Smoky Cape. — Arrival in Port Jackson, the harbour of 
Sydney 001 




1. A Landscape iu the Nicobar Islands 1 

2. A Forest Scene in Singapore 137 

3. Javanese Weapons 180 

4. View from the Battlements at Manila 281 

5. Life in Hong-kong 355 

G. Flower Boat on the Wusung at Shanghai 416 

7. Distant Yiew of the Island of Puynipet 551 

8. Barrier Eeef and Atoll of Sikayana 601 



Historical details respecting this Archipelago. — Arrival at 
' '' Kar-Nicobar.— Communication with the Aborigines. — 

Village of Saoui and " Captain John." — Meet with two white men. 
— Journey to the south side of the island. — Village of Komios. — 
Forest Scenery. — Batte-Malve. — Tillangschong. — Arrival and stay at 
Nangkauri Harbour. — Village of Itoe. — Peak Mongkata on Kamorta. 
• — Villages of Enuang and Malacca. — Tripjet, the first settlement of the 
Moravian Brothers. — Ulala Cove. — Voyage through the Archipelago. 
— The Island of Trcis. — Pulo Milii.— Pandanus Forest. — St. George's 
Channel. — Island of Kondul. — Departure for the northern coast of 
Great Nicobar. — Mangrove Swamp. — Malay traders. — Remarks upon 
the natives of Great Nicobar. — Disaster to a boat dispatched to make <4 m 

Geodetical observations. — Visit to the Southern Bay of Great Nicobar. ^i'ln'/, 
— General results obtained during the stay of the Expedition in this |,r^ 

Archipelago. — Nautical, Climatic, and Geognostic observations. — Vege- -^H^^ 
tation. — Animal Life. — Ethnography. — Prospects of this gi-oup of Is- filP^ 
lands in the way of settlement and cultivation. — Voyage to the Straits tj^fv/ 
of Malacca. — Arrival at Singapore. \ ■■iA-r" 

The earliest visitants of whom we have anv certain in- ,t j/ 


formation to tliis cluster of islands (situated in the Bay « m/.F 
of Bengal, between 6" 50' and 9" 10' N., and 93° and k 
94° E.), appear to have been Arabian traders, who, on their 


2 Voyage of the Novara. 

voyages to Southern China, landed on these islands, then 
known as Megabalu and Legabalu, on the first occasion in 
851, and on the second in 877 of the Christian era. Abu- 
Zeyd-Hassan, one of these adventurers, gave a circumstantial 
account of these voyages, which has been translated into 
French, and published by Eusebius Renaudot.* 

After the Cape of Good Hope was doubled in 1497, the 
Nicobars were chiefly frequented by voyagers in East Indian 
seas, but without any such visits having in the least con- 
tributed to enlarge our information respecting a group so im- 
portant by geographical position. 

In 1602, Captain Lancaster, commander of an English 
ship, passed ten days on the Nicobars, during which he 
hardly visited the southern islands. Great and Little Nicobar, 
but kept to the small island of Sombrero, of the northern 
cluster, now called Bampoka. He there found trees of such 
circmnference and height, as would serve for the construction 
of the largest ships. Towards the middle of the seventeenth 
century, Keeping, a Swede, made his appearance at the 
Nicobars. Happening to be on board a Dutch vessel, which 
touched in 1647 at one of the islands, he thought he per- 
ceived among the inhabitants certain men fm-nished with 
caudal appendages, whereas it was their peculiar clothing, 
which consists of a long narrow piece of woven stuff, wound 

* Anciennes relations des Tndcs et de la Chine de deux voyageurs Mahometans, 
qui y allerent dans le IXeme siecle. Traduit de 1' Arabe avec des remarques par 
Ens. Renaudot. Paris, chez Coignard, 1718. 8vo. 

Visits of Early Navigators. 3 

round the body and then left to hang loosely, which gave 
rise to such a report. With the arrival in Indian waters of 
Dampier, that daring but most trustworthy of navigators, 
the information respecting these islands first becomes more 
definite. He landed in the north-western Bay of the largest 
of these, to which he assigned the latitude 7^ 30' N., and gave 
a most extensive narrative of his adventurous career from the 
moment he abandoned the corsair-craft he had brought from 
Europe to seek for assistance on the Nicobars, to the period 
when, after braving a tremendous storm in a canoe, along 
with seven of his companions in misfortune he landed half 
dead on the northernmost point of Sumatra about 1706. 

In 1708, Captain Owen, another English shipmaster, 
paid an involuntary visit to this Archipelago, his ship having 
been stranded on the uninhabited island of Tillangschong, 
whence he escaped with his crew to the islands Ning and 
Som-i, only four miles to the westward, apparently what is 
now known as Nangkauri. For the first time history now 
records an outrage of which the natives were guilty towards 
the strangers. 

It would appear that the captain, after having experienced 
an exceedingly friendly reception, laid down his knife, upon 
which one of the islanders, very possibly out of cm-iosity, 
laid hold of it, pushed the owner aside, and ultimately 
possessed himself of the knife. On the following day, as 
Owen was taking his mid-day meal under a tree, he was set 
upon and killed by several of the natives, who shot him 

B 2 

4 Voyage of the Novara. 

down with their arrows ; on the other hand the crew, con- 
sisting of sixteen persons, were furnished with canoes and pro- 
visions, so that without experiencing any farther ill-treatment 
they were so fortunate as to reach Junkseilan. 

The first essay towards a settlement of the Nicobar 
Islands was made by the Jesuits in 1711, upon the most 
northerly island of the group, Kar-Nicobar. They succumbed 
however to the noxious influences of the climate, and the few 
neophytes speedily sank back into heathendom. 

The second attempt at colonization by Europeans took 
place in 1756, when Lieutenant Tanck, a Dane, after taking 
possession of the entire group in the name of his sovereign, 
the King of Denmark, named the islands " FrederUcs Ocrnc " 
(Frederick Islands), and founded the first colony on the 
northern side of Great Nicobar, or Sambellong. In the year 
1760 this was transferred by the followers of Tanck to the 
island of Kamorta, but here too after a short time the ex- 
periment failed, owing to the unhealthiness of the climate. 

In 1766, fourteen Moravian Brethren were settled on 
Nangkauri, with the view of extending the influence of the 
Danish East India Company. The want of information 
respecting the necessary conditions under which this colony 
was called into existence, was in all probability the cause of 
its speedy declension. Within less than two decades the 
majority of these settlers had fallen under the baneful influ- 
ence of the climate. 

On 1st April, 1778, the Austrian vessel Joseph and 

Visit of an Austrian Ship in 1778. 5 

Theresa^ commanded by Captain Bennet, landed on the N.E. 
side of Kar-Nicobar, or New Denmark. This vessel had 
been commissioned by the Imperial Government to select, 
in the name of H. M. Joseph II., Austrian plantations 
and commercial stations on the farther side of the Cape of 
Good Hope. Of this remarkable expedition nothing more has 
been handed down to us than is related by excellent Nicolas 
Fontana, who accompanied the expedition as surgeon, in 
his book of travels, which was published at LeijDzig in 

Neither the libraries nor the archives of the empire seem 
capable of furnishing more definite information respecting 
this interesting undertaking. However, on the other hand, 
through the kind offices of H.I.H. the Archduke Ferdinand 
Maximilian with the Government of H.M. the King of the 
Belgians, there have been found in the Royal Archives at 
Brussels several highly important documents, bearing upon 
this expedition, of which M. Gachard, keeper of the State 
Archives in that country, had the kindness to furnish us with 
copies ; and while we propose in the following remarks to 
avail ourselves of the most interesting data, the more particu- 
lar consideration of this cii'cumstance, so interesting in the 
history of the develo^jment of our trade, will be deferred till 

• Journal of the Voyage of the I. R. Ship Joseph and Theresa to the new Aus- 
trian plantations in Asia and Africa, by Nicolas Fontana, ship-surgeon to Mr. 
Brambilla, body physician to the Emperor, assistant surgeon in the army. Trans- 
lated from the Italian MS. by Joseph Eyerie. Dessau and Leipzig, — '■'■ Buch-hand- 
Imig der Gelehrten." 

6 Voyage of the Novara. 

the appearance of the commercial section of the Novara 

A Dutchman, named William Bolts, formerly in the service 
of the British East India Company, in the year 1774 made 
to Count Belgiojoso, at that period Ambassador in London of 
the Empress Maria Theresa, proposals for direct commercial 
intercourse between the Netherlands and Trieste and Persia, 
the East Indies, China, and Africa, with the objectof sujoplying 
the harbours of the Austrian dominions with the products 
of India and China, without the costly intervention of other 
countries. This proposition having been brought under the 
notice of the Imperial Chancellor, Prince Kaunitz, at Vienna, 
was so cordially received by that minister, that Bolts received 
an invitation to j^i'esent himself at the Empress's palace, in 
order to develope his plans more fully in person in that august 
presence. Bolts arrived in Vienna in April, 1775, and very 
shortly afterwards was invested by the Empress with all the 
requisite privileges for facilitating the prosecution of his great 
project. The imperial officials at Trieste were entrusted 
with the equipment and arming of the vessel, the supreme 
military council were required to provide the necessary pay 
for the soldiers and subaltern officers, and Bolts by special 
commission was formally empowered in the name of the 
Empress Queen, as also in that of her successors upon the 
throne, to take possession of all the territories which he 
might succeed in getting ceded by the princes of India, for 

The Imperial (Austro) Asiatic Society. 7 

the behoof of such of Her Imperial Majesty's subjects as 
should purpose tradhig with the Indies. 

It was the wish of the Government that the first expedi- 
tion should take its departure from Trieste ; Bolts however 
oj^posed this, for the reason that his vessel must take part of 
its lading from London, but declared himself prepared to 
make the most strenuous efforts to found a mercantile house 
in Trieste, and to take such precautions as should result in 
the second and all future expeditions being dispatched 
from Trieste. 

Bolts hereupon first proceeded to Amsterdam with his 
newly-acquired privileges, and thence to London, as yet 
without being more fortunate in his attempt to set on foot 
the proposed association in the one locality than in the other. 
At last, at Antwerp in the Netherlands, he succeeded in 
interesting in his project a certain Baron von Proli, and two 
merchants, by the name of Borrekens and Nageles, and with 
these three persons he entered into a contract of association, 
on 20th Sept. 1775. At the same time a fund of £90,000 
was raised for the armament of a second trading vessel to 
the East Indies and China, and out of the same amount to 
establish a mercantile house in Trieste. 

In possession of £25,000 sterling, which he had procured 
from his associates, Bolts proceeded to London, where he 
purchased a vessel, which he named the Joseph and The- 
resa, put a portion of her cargo on board, and on 14th 

8 yoyage of the Novara. 

March, 1776, set sail thence for Leghorn. Here certain articles 
were to be taken on board, which the Government had pro- 
mised to have ready, and which consisted of copper, iron, 
steel, and tools. Before Bolts left harbour on his voyage to 
the Indies he was invested by the Empress with the grade of 
Lieutenant-Colonel in their service, and for the better prose- 
cution of his objects was provided by the State Chancery 
with comprehensive powers,* and a pass for barbarous coun- 
tries, called a " Scojitrino.^^'f The Empress at the same time 
provided the daring adventurer with letters of introduction 
under her own hand to the Emperor of Cliina, the " King" 
of Persia, and the Lidian satraps whose dominions he was 
to visit. 

Baron Proli, one of the chief partners, went first of all to 
Vienna, and thence to Leghorn, and concluded an agreement 
with Bolts to dispatch a ship to the Indies in each of the 
years 1777, 1778, 1779, the cargoes of which should be 
worth at least £30,000 each, while Bolts, on his part, en- 
gaged to remain in the Indies three and a half years from 
the day of his departure, there to found factories, and to lay 

* " I have drawn up these documents," writes Prince Kaunitz, in a state paper ad- 
dressed to the Empress, dated 27th March, 1776, "in such manner as to advance the 
objects of your Majesty in estabhshing commercial intercourse between Austria and 
the Indies, without incurring disagreeable results, which might accrue from the con- 
ferring of unrestricted authority." 

t A piece of parchment, cut out of a book in zig-zag fashion, which in former times 
was necessary in all commerce with barbarians, the captains of privateers, when un- 
aljle to read, being enabled, by comparing the torn-out leaf {scontriiio) with the coun- 
terfoil, which it was customary to give to all trading persons, to determine to what 
nationality the vessel belonged. 

The Imperial (Austro) Asiatic Society. 9 

out to the best advantage the money realized by tlie sale of 
the merchandise consigned to him. The Empress Maria 
Theresa rewarded Proli for services already rendered, as 
also for those w^hich he undertook to perform in the estab- 
lishment of trading-exchanges in Trieste and Bruges, for the 
sup23ort of the over-sea commerce of the Austrian and Belgian 
provinces, by raising him to the dignity of Count. 

The ship Joseph and Theresa, bound for the east coast of 
Africa, as also for the shores of Malabar, Coromandel, and 
Bengal, set sail from Leghorn in September, 1776, with a 
crew of 155 men. Unfavourable winds compelled Bolts to 
make the Brazilian coast, in order to take in fresh stores. 
Thence he lay a course for Delagoa Bay, on the S.E. coast of 
Africa, oj^posite the island of Madagascar, on which, on 30th 
March, 1777, he was so unfortunate as to get stranded, when 
he was compelled to start a portion of his cargo overboard. 
Bolts, however, turned to excellent account his stay on this 
coast, having pm-chased from two African kings, named 
Mohaar Capell, and Chibauraan Matola, a site of ground on 
both banks of the river Masoumo, and, at a total expenditure 
of 126,267 florins (about £12,600), in which was included 
the cost of constructing the necessary vessels, founded a 
factory, for whose protection he also erected two small forts, 
which he furnished with cannon, and named after his two 
illustrious patrons, Joseph and Theresa. 

After a more protracted stay on the coast of Malabar, 
where he purchased from the Nabob, tlie celebrated Hyder 

lo Voyage of the Novara. 

Ali Khan, a number of plots of ground in the vicinity of 
Mangalore, Carwar, and Balliaj)atam, the very centre of the 
peipper trade, and erected a factory at an expense of 28,074 
florins (£2800), this enterprising man set sail for the Coro- 
mandel Coast and the Bay of Bengal, and about the com- 
mencement of 1778 visited the Nicobar Islands, in order there 
also to found a factory. Unfortunately, of this visit there 
nowhere survive any detailed particulars, and the only docu- 
ment extant under Bolts' hand, which can throw any light 
on the subject, is a statement of the expenditure incurred in 
erecting a fort on the Nicobars, which, together with the 
purchase of a goelette, and a snow, or two-masted vessel, for 
the coasting trade between Madras, Pegu, and the group of 
islands, amounted to 47,659 fl. 48 kr. (about £4760). 

At the close of 1780 Bolts returned to Europe, and in May, 
1781, cast anchor in the harbour of Leghorn. His exertions 
and his speculation had not been attended with the success 
anticipated, and despite fresh assistance afforded by the Aus- 
trian Government to the Association, which at first seemed 
to promise a more auspicious future for the undertaking, yet 
the political complications of the period, and especially the 
sudden, totally unlooked-for rupture of peace between France, 
England, and Holland, ere long entailed utter ruin on the trad- 
ing company, which, in the year 1785, found itself compelled 
to stop payment.* Bolts died at Paris in April, 1808, in 

* A few years previous, in 1782, a certain C. F. von Brocktroff, of Kiel, had ad- 
dressed a memorial to (he Emperor Joseph II., in the course of which he warmly 

Attempted Colonization by Denmark. 1 1 

utter destitution, and Micliaud, in his Biographie Universelle, 
dedicated an article to this hardy and enterprising, rather 
than shrewd and prudent, adventurer.* 

About two years after the appearance of the Austrian ship 
in the Nicobar Ai'chipelago, the Danes endeavoured to found 
there a missionary station of Moravian Brothers. Towards 
the close of 1778 the missionaries, Hansel and Wangemann, 
sailed from Tranquebar to Nangkauri, where they arrived in 
January, 1779. In 1787 the mission at Nangkauri was once 
more abandoned, when the only surviving Moravian Brother 
retm-ned to Tranquebar, and shortly after to Europe. 

In 1795 an Englishman, Major S^nnes, touched at Kar- 
Nicobar, while on his voyage as Envoy to Ava and Burmah. 
His observations there may be found in the second volume of 
'^ Asiatic Researches," p. 344, in an article entitled " Descrip- 
tion of Carnicobar." 

In 1831, Denmark once more made an attempt to colonize, 
by means of a missionary enterprise, the group formerly 
knoAvn as New Denmark, and occasionally as Frederick Is- 
lands. Pastor Rosen landed in August of that year on the 

advocated the annexation, settlement, and reclamation of the Nicobar Islands, and, on 
the strength of fifteen years' experience in the East Indies, promised immense profits 
to the Austrian-German trade by this method of procedm-e. This interesting treatise 
will be found among the Government Archives at Vienna, and will be published in full 
in another section. 

. * Bolts had several times come before the public as an author. In 1771 he issued 
in London a work in two volumes 4to, entitled, " Considerations on Indian Affairs," 
which was also translated into French. Further, he published a " Reciieil des pieces 
authentiques relatives aux affaires de la ci-devant societe Lnperiale-Asiatique de Trieste, 
gerees a Anvers,'' which appeared in 4to (1 16 pages) at Paris, in I7S7. 

1 2 Voyage of the Novara. 

island of Kamorta, and first set up his establishment on the 
so-called Frederick Hill, then on the adjoining Mongkata 
Hill ; somewhat later on the island of Trinkut, and lastly on 
the shore immediately beneath the Mongkata Hill. In De- 
cember, 1834, after about a four years' stay, Pastor Rosen 
left the islands, and in 1839 published, at Copenhagen, his 
own experiences and personal observations, under the title : 
" Enndringe7i om mit Ophold paa de Nikohariske Oerne''^ (Recol- 
lections of my Residence on the Nicobar Islands). 

In 1835, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Straits of Ma- 
lacca dispatched to Kar-Nicobar two French missionaries, the 
Fathers Chopard and Borie. But after a certain lapse of 
time, during which their missionary efforts gave promise of 
the most pleasing results, and when they had lived about a 
year on the island, the pious work fell through, owing to the 
credulity and prejudices of the natives, to whom the two 
missionaries were represented by the crew of a ship from the 
adjacent shores of the continent as English spies, whose ob- 
ject jDrobably was to ascertain the products of the country, 
which thereupon would speedily be annexed by the English 
Government. The missionaries had to flee, and Borie ex- 
pired in the arms of his companion before he could get off the 
island. Chopard afterwards, in the year 1849, published his 
adventures in this group of islands in the '' Asiatic Journal of 
the Indian Archipelago," under the title, '^ A few Particulars 
respecting the Nicobar IslandsP 

In March, 1815, Mr. Mackey, Danish Consul in Calcutta, 

Visit of Danish Corvette Galatea. 1 3 

set on foot a small expedition to the Nicobar Archipelago. 
That gentleman hoped to find amongst the southern islands 
strata of coal, and made a voyage thither in prosecution of 
that object, on board the schooner Espiegle, commanded by an 
Englishman named Lewis, and accompanied by two Danes, 
Mr. Busch, the sole commander of the expedition, and a cer- 
tain Mr. Lowert. By the end of May the adventurers were 
once more in Calcutta. With the exception of a few lumps 
they had not found coal-beds on any part of the island, while 
they lacked the physical strength requisite for founding the 
agricultural colony, which it had been intended to set on foot 
at the same time. The scientific results of this voyage are 
comprised in a small hrochure,^^ H. Busch's Jom-nal of a Cruise 
amongst the Nicobar Islands," (Calcutta, 1845). 

A further scientific exploration of the Nicobar group was 
made by the naturalists attached to the Danish corvette 
Galatea in the course of their voyage round the world in the 
years 1845 — 7. A thorough examination of the Nicobars 
was one of the chief objects of the expedition set on foot 
under the auspices of the Danish Government. On the 
25th January, 1846, at Nangkauri, Captain Steen Bille took 
formal possession of this group of islands in the name of 
H.M. the King of Denmark. Two natives, father and son, 
named respectively Luha and Angre, the former resident in 
Malacca, and the latter in Enuang, were on that occasion 
installed as chief magistrates ; each being at the same time 
provided with a staff bearing the c;y'pher of Christian VIII., 

1 4 Voyage of the Novara. 

and instructed, by means of a document drawn up in tlie 
English and Danish languages, on the subject of their duties, 
which consisted principally in hoisting the Danish Standard 
on the arrival of foreign shijDS in the harbour of Nangkauri.* 

After the decease of Christian VIII., the Danish Govern- 
ment, in consequence of the violent political agitations of 
the period, did not show itself disposed to make practical use 
of their possession of the Nicobar Islands by any lasting 
colonization, but on the contrary in the year 1848 dispatched 
the royal corvette Valhjrien to the Archipelago, to bring 
away the flag and batons, f 

In consequence of this, according to " Thornton's Gazet- 
teer of India," the chiefs of the island of Kar-Nicobar hoisted 
the English flag, and through certain English merchants 
resident in Moulmein, expressed a wish to be permitted to 

* The results of this voyage of discovery are embodied partly in a work in two 
volumes : " Steen Bille's account of the voyage of the corvette Galatea, round the 
world " (Copenhagen, Leipzig, 1852), partly in a Geographical sketch of the Nicobar 
Islands, with special remarks upon Geology, by Dr. H. Rink (Copenhagen, 1847): 
there will be likewise found in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, under 
the heading " Nicobar Islands," and at p. 261 of the third volume of the " Journal 
of the Indian Archipelago," under the title " Sketches at the Nicobars," a variety of 
valuable contributions to our stock of knowledge respecting this island group. In 
addition, Mr. A. E. Zhishmann, Professor in the Imperial Royal Academy of Com- 
merce and Navigation at Trieste, pubHshed, in anticipation of the projected visit of 
the Novara to this Archipelago, a valuable historico-geographical sketch, entitled, 
"The Nicobar Islands " (Trieste, Printing Office of the Austrian Lloyds, 1857), 
which appeared at the same time in the Transactions of the Imp. Roy. Geographical 
Society for 1857. 

t Vide, "Indian PoUtical Dispatches," of 1st February, 1848: also the " Ham- 
burger Correspondent," of 30th August, 1848, and " Friend of India," for 1853, p. 

Dread of Annexation of the Natives. 15 

place themselves under the protection of the British Crown. 
This information, however, seems to be inaccurate, in so far 
as it professes to describe the conduct of the native chiefs. 
The inhabitants, it is true, hoist any flag given to them, be- 
cause they are fond of imitating European customs, and by 
so doing believe they secure themselves against the pretensions 
of other nations ; but there is nothing they so much di^ead 
as a regular occupation of the islands, and on every appearance 
of a war-ship are forthwith filled with alarm lest they should 
be about to be deprived of their liberty, and — their cocoa- 
nuts. Indeed they have a sa}ang widely diffused among 
them, probably through the craft of some smart chiefs, that 
whenever a European should settle among them all the 
cocoa-nuts will drop from the trees, and they will thus see 
themselves deprived for ever of their most important means of 
subsistence. It is, on the contrary, more probable that the 
English ship-captains, who trade with these islands in order 
the better to secm^e their highly profitable trade in cocoa- 
nuts, made some propositions to the East Indian Government 
to take possession of this important group, by a similar pro- 
cedure as that by which the Andaman islands were annexed 
somewhat later. 

Since the unsuccessful attempt at the end of last century 
to extend Austrian commerce with the Indies and the coast 
of Africa, by founding a few colonies in those places, no 
vessel sailing under the Austrian flag had again visited the 
Nicobar Islands, and accordingly, on the dispatch of an 

1 6 Voyage of the Novara. 

Imperial ship- of- war to those waters, it was naturally wished 
that she should on her voyage to China visit this group, on 
whose shores the Austrian flag had once been unfurled as a 
symbol of possession. On this occasion, however, the object 
was rather scientific than political. It was intended, so far 
as the time allotted for visiting these islands and the appli- 
ances at hand admitted, to undertake inquiries as to the most 
important geodetical points, together with astronomical, 
magnetic, and meteorological observations, and at the same 
time to make investigations and collections of the various 
objects of natural science, and thus to complete as it were the 
valuable labours carried out in 1816 by the Danish Expedi- 
tion to the Nicobar Islands. The following pages are simply 
limited to giving a popular narrative of our own stay on this 
interesting island group, while more circumstantial informa- 
tion of the various scientific results obtained there will be 
deferred till the appearance of the special works being drawn 
up by the members, each in his own special section. 

On 25th February, at 10 a.m., the naturalists, accompa- 
nied by the officers in charge of the scientific apparatus, and 
the midshipmen, after very considerable difficulty, succeeded < 
in effecting a landing on the island of Kar-Nicobar, in a bay 
protected by a coral-reef (by observation 9° 14' 8" N., and 
920 44^ 4g/r E.), between the villages of Moose and Saoui. At 
this point the surf beats incessantly over the huge reefs of 
coral upon a waste of gleaming white sand, which stretches in 
graceful curves from one point of rock to that next adjoining. 

First SalutatiouH of the Naiioes. ly 

The few fruits which have been throTNTi up, or been carried 
hither, probably from some distant shore, have struck root in 
this coral sand, and a coronal of luxuriant palms, with their 
slim stems, and loaded with thousands of nuts, serves as food 
for man. 

In the vicinity of the spot where we disembarked was an- 
cliored a barque from Moulmein, with a Malay crew, the ma- 
jority of whom were tatooed on the thigh with extraordinary 
skill. They had been for a considerable period taking in a cargo 
of cocoa-nuts, which the natives had been exchanging against 
various merchandise. About thirty dusky natives, almost 
entirely naked, and for the most part without any head cover- 
ing beyond the splendid raven locks which hung down over 
their shoulders, some carrying in their hands cutlasses, 
others long wooden lances tij^ped with bone, stood near the 
beach, and while we were yet a little distance off, called out to 
us in broken English, and with visible anxiety, ^' Good 
friend ? No fear ! " apparently anxious, in the first place, to 
have confirmation from us that we were really '' good friends," 
and that they had nothing to dread, before they ventured 
quite close to us. Wlien they were no more than twenty 
paces distant, they suddenly came to a halt, upon which some 
of theii' number, who appeared to be chiefs, gave their spears 
and cutlasses to those around, and advanced to us with a tolera- 
bly friendly air, at the same time stretching out their hands 
by way of salutation. They were for the most part large, 
well-proportioned men, of a dark bronze colour of skin. 

VOL. n- 

1 8 Voyage of the No vara. 

The most disagreeable feature is tlie mouth, which, in con- 
sequence of the loathsome custom of incessantly chewing the 
betel-nut, seems to have become utterly distorted in shape. 
In a few cases this filthy habit had resulted in such deformity 
among the teeth, that these were barely visible between the 
thick swollen lipsy like a malignant tumour ! The apparel of 
the natives is pretty universally entii-ely primitive, consisting 
of nothing but a long very narrow strip of dark blue linen, 
which they wind round the body, bringing it from the front 
between the legs backwards, when it is made fast to the girdle, 
and the ends left to hang loosely down. Some of the natives 
make a very singular use of the different articles of old 
clothes which they receive in exchange from the ship cap- 
tains, or have had given as a present, as they appear now in 
a black hat, now in a coat or a shirt, without a vestige of 
other clothing ! 

Almost every native we saw brought to us a soiled, 
crumpled-up testimonial, setting forth his good character, and 
his honesty in the cocoa-nut trade, which he had received 
from various slii]) captains, who bartered their merchandise 
for ripe cocoa-nuts, which they afterwards sold in the East 
Indies or Ceylon at an immense profit. The greater number 
of these testimonials were written in English ; we found only 
one in German from the skipper of a Bremen ship, and one 
in Dutch. In these certificates are set forth the objects best 
worth enquiring for, as also a statement of the articles bar- 
tered in the course of exchange for cocoa-nuts, a practice 

Equivalents of a Cocoa-nut Currency. — Humorous Testimonials. 1 9 

which is not alone of the utmost utility for those who may 
afterwards visit the islands for purposes of commerce, but also 
throw a most interesting^ light upon the evidences of civiliza- 
tion among" the natives.* 

These testimonials also frequently contain very humorous 
remarks about the unsuspecting natives, who assuredly would 
be less eager in producing them if they were acquainted with 
the contents. One of the earliest to. ex tend to us the hand of 
welcome was a native who called himself Captain Dickson, a 
handsome, slim, dark-brown figure, with very long, fine, 
glossy hair hanging over his shoulders, and neatly gathered 
together with a bark ribbon. In the document presented to 

* Thus, for example, we find on the island of Kar-Nicobar the following speci- 
mens of barter : — 
For a sort of hvmting-knife or cutlass, worth about ^\\ 300 pair of ripe cocoa-nuts. 

„ a small knife-blade ... 

„ six table knife-blades 

„ an American knife ... 

„ a hatchet 

„ a musket 

„ a double-barrelled gun 

„ a large spoon 

„ thirty feet of silver-wire 

„ a small cask of rum ... 

„ a flask of arrack 

„ three "sticks" of (negro-heads) tobacco ... 

„ a flask of castor oil ... 

„ a cabin lamp ... 

„ a sack of rice .. . 

„ a piece of blue calico (about 6 to 8 ells) ... 

„ a neck-cloth ... 
Epsom salts, turpentine, spirit of camphor, eau-de-Cologne, and peppermint, are also 
much-prized articles of barter, and bring a large profit, being exchanged for old 
clothes, salt meat, onions, and biscuit. 



If 5> 


» ?) 


>1 )t 


5? »> 


»> 1> 


)5 ») 


!? )1 


» » 


>» )> 


J> 1' 


») )» 


»' M 


>) )) 


1) !1 


»» J' 


» )1 

ne, and \ 


20 Voyage of the No vara. 

us, which was dated 15th January, and bore the signature of 
the captain of the ship Arracan, there was written beneath, 
^' Dickson, though a shabby-looking fellow, is a man of sub- 
stance." In a second testimonial, it was said of a native : 
*' He will do honour to England when she comes !" a remark 
which leaves plainly apparent the hope of the ship captain 
that these islands will speedily be occupied by the English. 
These certificates likewise contain a variety of important 
hints, especially with reference to the method of dealing with 
the natives, the most commodious anchorage, the difficulty 
encountered in landing, &c.* 

Thus the most cursory communication with the natives 
convinced us that they must already have repeatedly done 
business with English ship captains, who had imparted to them 
a slight knowledge of the English language, and a few of the 
simpler principles of humanity and religion. Wlien we gave 
them to understand that we visited them as friends, they replied 
in their broken English : " Not merely friends — brothers ! all 
brothers ! all only one father and one mother ! " Hereupon 
each proceeded to light one of the cigars that had been pre- 

* Thus, for instance, there occurred in one of these documents : — " In the village 
of Aurong, or Arrow, the best anchorage is opposite Capt. Marshall's hut, in from 13 
to 15 fathoms water. At many points the coast is so dangerous, that one ship lost 
two of her men, who were endeavouring to land in a boat." In another certificate it 
was announced that the hsxqwQ Bata via of Rotterdam, freighted with rice, of 442 tons 
burthen, while on her voyage from Rangoon to Europe, was wrecked in Danson's 
passage, 7th April, 1857, and her crew was very hospitably treated by the natives of 
Kar-Nicobar. Almost every one of these certificates concludes with the remark that 
wlioever wishes to be on friendly terms with the natives must play no pranks with 
their women, nor shoot their fowls or hogs in the forest. 

Method of CUmhing the Cocoa-jml^n. 2 1 

sented to them, while, for want of any other receptacle, they 
secreted the remainder in the wide holes transpiercing the 
lobes of the ears, after which they with the most frank munifi- 
cence, and in token of their hospitality, pulled a number of 
young cocoa-nuts from the tree, and gave us their fluid con- 
tents to drink. Very singular was the method in which this was 
effected. They tie their feet together by the ankles with a loop 
of the same bast, or bark rope, which, when employed in fast- 
ening their long black locks, usually forms such a picturesque 
frontlet, and then clamber with the agility of cats to the 
summit of the palm, throw to the bottom the separated fruit, 
and slide swiftly down to the ground again. Holding in one 
hand a tolerably heavy young nut, in the other a sharp cut- 
lass, they proceed at one sure blow to open the nut, in such 
manner that a small orifice is made, through which the re- 
freshing liquid contents can be conveniently quaffed. Wlien 
this has been evacuated the nut is usually split in half, in 
which form it serves as a most nutritious food for the fowls and 
hogs. Despite their hospitality, there was perceptible in all 
of them great anxiety, and the upshot of all their conversa- 
tion always resolved itself into the stereotyped questions, 
" What did we really require ? whether we wished to pur- 
chase cocoa-nuts, and would soon be leaving ? " 

Great and natural as our desire was to penetrate from the 
shore, thickly covered with its belt of cocoa-nut palms, into 
the rather flat interior, and thus obtain a nearer view of the 
hive-shaped, basket-formed huts which were visible under 

22 ^^oijage of the Novara. 

the forest trees, we judged it much the better course to en- 
deavour first of all to make the natives more confiding, and 
for that purpose invited them to accompany us on board. 
Eight of their number were finally induced to follow us, and 
came alongside in their elegant canoes, formed of the wood 
of the Calophijllum mojpliylliim, one of the most splendid trees 
of the primeval forest of the islands. As soon as we reached 
the fi:-igate, only a single one, Captain Dickson, could be in- 
duced to clamber up of the man-ropes ; the rest did not venture 
to leave their canoes, and one, who called himself Captain 
Charlie, a short, lank little fellow of boyish appearance, who 
for'all apparel wore a dirty cloth cap on his head, trembled 
with terror through his whole frame when he saw our big 
guns. Captain Dickson, too, did not seem to feel himself 
altogether comfortable while on board, and although there 
was much to excite his curiosity, he soon longed to get out of 
the large ship, back again into his own frail skiff. Quite 
peculiar was the impression made upon him by a pair of live 
cows ; such large animals he gave us to understand were not 
found upon his island. 

Meanwhile a number of natives had approached the frigate 
in their canoes, bringing swine, fowls, plantains, yams, and 
eggs in hollowed-out cocoa-nut shells, which they offered as 
presents, but at the same time inquu-ed what we intended 
giving them in return. They greatly wished for biscuit, 
brandy, medicines, clothes, but above all else for black hats, 
which most probably results from their having occasionally 

Money. — Political Reminiscences. 23 

soon the captains of English ships wearing round hats, whence 
they now seem to imagine that such a head-gear is the in- 
signia of captain's rank, or of a chief. 

Their knowledge of money was confined to Rupees, which 
they discriminated into two sorts, viz. the ordinary East 
Indian coin, and the English sixpenny-piece, which they 
called '' small Rupees," covering with them, by way of orna- 
ment, the ends of the small bits of bamboo which they usu- 
ally wear through the hole that transpierces the greatly dis- 
tended lobe of the ear. 

Of the two Catholic missionaries, Borie and Chopard, who 
in 1835 had remained a short time on the island, not one of 
the natives could give us any particulars ; and likewise of the 
Danish corvette Galatea^ which visited the group in 1846, they 
had but a dim remembrance, and even this of a far from com- 
plimentary character; the poor people having been over 
whelmed with the apprehensions that their island was about to 
be taken possession of, and themselves exposed to a lingering 
death by hunger. " Danish bad people," they exclaimed, 
" wanted to take our island. Suppose I could come to your 
island and take it ? Not good ! no good people ! " 

We returned on shore with the natives, who, in consequence 
of their friendly reception on board, had already become 
somewhat more tranquil and trustful. Tents were now 
pitched, the astronomical and geodetical instruments, toge- 
ther with the barometer and thermometer, were adjusted, the 
tide-gauge fixed at the most suitable point, and the island 

24 Voyage of the Novara. 

traversed in all directions for scientific purposes, so far at 
least as the density of the forest and the mistrust of the natives 
would permit. 

On the very same day we visited the Cove of Saoui, on 
which is situated the village of the same name, whose chief is 
called " Captain John." This worthy had received by way 
of present an old cast-off blue uniform frock, and was now 
making strenuous exertions to squeeze his all too little flexible 
limbs into this tight thick cloth coat, and to button it, despite 
the tropical heat, round his naked body up to the very throat. 
He was anxious it should not be reported of him that he did 
not sufficiently value the distinction awarded him, or did not 
comprehend how to make a proper use of it. Unlike the rest 
of his compatriots. Captain John also wore shoes and pants, and 
in consequence openly claimed to belong to the privileged 
classes. He was surrounded by a considerable number of 
natives, who presented themselves to us, as Captain Morgan, 
Captain Douglas, Dr. Crisp, Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, Lord 
Wellington, and so forth, having been indebted to the singular 
whimsies of some English captains, who thought it a good 
joke to confer on these filthy brown people the illustrious 
names of the hereditary and intellectual aristocracy of Great 

Captain John accompanied us along the coast to his own 
domicile by an exceedingly difficult and sunny path, having 
designedly concealed from us the existence of a much more 
commodious track through the forest to the village, which con- 

Interior of a Native Hut. 25 

tains only seven houses. These are erected in a broad open 
space, and in consequence of the great liumidity of the soil 
during the wet season, consist of eight or ten poles, from 
six to eight feet in height, so that a man can easily pass 
under them. They comprise but one large apartment, into 
which access is obtained by a neatly-carved ladder of bamboo- 
reed, which during the night, or when the occupants leave the 
hut, is usually taken away, so that, without using locks or 
bolts, it is pretty difficult to get in. The flooring is con- 
structed of bamboo planks, bound together with Rotang 
{Calamus Rotang), in such a manner that the air from beneath 
can circulate freely through, and, in a similar way, the neat 
basket-work of the hive-shaped structui'e is vaulted. A dense 
straw thatch serves as well to keej) out the sun's rays as the 
rain. The internal arrangements are very simple. In the 
rear is a sort of fii-e-place, a low block of wood hollowed out, 
and the cavity filled with sand and stones, upon which is 
placed a variety of utensils of clay, imported from the ad- 
joining island of Chowry, the only island of the entire Archi- 
pelago where any industry is carried on. From the beams of 
the roof are suspended hollowed-out cocoa-nuts, strung toge- 
ther in pairs, and serving as water jars, as also elegantly 
plaited baskets and the few possessions of the family, and, 
lastly, some fr-uits, betel-leaves, and tobacco, as offerings to 
the Eewees, or evil spirits, in the event of their paying a 
visit, and having an appetite for such fare. Fm-ther forward, 
opposite the entrance of the hut, there are stuck on the side 

26 Vojjage of the Novara. 

walls, as evidences of special prosperity, numerous cutlasses, 
spears, javelins, and paddles. Besides, there are laid on the 
floor plaited straw-mats, which, rolled up dm^ng the day, 
are stretched out at night and, together with a small wooden 
stool for a pillov/, serve as couches on which to repose. The 
hut might furnish sleeping quarters for about ten men. As, 
moreover, all the cookery is carried on therein, and there is no 
means of ventilating from above, the interior is completely 
satm-ated with smoke, and all articles are soon begrimed with 
smoke and soot. The natives, however, apparently take no 
precautions to get rid of the smoke, because it contributes to 
keep them free of a far more subtle foe, the mosquito, who, 
especially during the rainy season, becomes a formidable tor- 
ment for their naked bodies. 

In the shady space beneath the hut, which sometimes serves 
as a workshop,— if one may venture so to designate the in- 
dustry of the inhabitants of the Nicobars generally, — Ca^itain 
John had suspended upon a transverse beam a sort of swing, 
in which he occasionally rocked himself, much to his own de- 
light, while for his guests was jDrovided a wooden arm-chair, 
which had evidently come into his possession in the course of 
some barter with the captain of a merchant vessel. 

The old chief spoke with marked predilection of the cap- 
tain of the barque Rochester of London, a gentleman named 
Green, who, by his humane and strictly conscientious dealings 
with the natives, seemed to stand in high respect, and af- 
forded a striking example of what beneficial influence is exer- 

Influence of a humane English Captain. . 27 

cised by individual English ship captains over the wild races 
with whom they come in contact in the way of trade, and 
how much they have it in tlieir power to make their nation 
respected in all parts of the globe. We venture to assert 
that these English merchantmen, during their cm-sory visits, 
have done more towards paving the way for civilizing the 
Nicobars than the Danish and French missionaries dm^ing 
their residence of years. Not a single native understands 
one Avord of Danish or French, but almost every one speaks 
English, sufficient, at all events, to make himself understood 
in that language. The talkative old fellow next held forth 
an English Bible, which had been carefully stov/ed away on 
one of the cross-beams of his hut, and of which, as he told us, 
he had been made a present by Captain Green, on that gentle- 
man's last visit. " This is my Jesus Christ," said Captain 
John, full of unquestioning faith in the marvellous power of 
Holy Writ: — "when I feel ill, I lay this little book under 
my head, and I get well again ! " The worthy fellow could 
neither read nor, so far as we could perceive, did he precisely 
comprehend what was printed in the book, yet he seemed 
instinctively to feel that it was of no ordinary pm'port, and 
accordingly held his present in high honour, as a sort of talis- 
man, whose power and efficacy one might confide in, without 
his being able precisely to account for such a belief. We 
turned over the leaves of the little volume, which had been 
issued by the renowned, wide-spread, and beneficent London 
Bible Society, and found on the fly-leaf some English verses 

28 Voyage of the Novara. 

in Green's handwriting, and some encomiums upon tlie in- 
habitants of Kar-Nicobar, " The most virtuous people that 
Captain Green had fallen in with during eight and thirty 
years' sea-faring;" closing with the remark, "What a pity 
they have no missionary ! " 

In trutli, the inhabitants of Kar-Nicobar are among the 
most perfect of human-kind. In their commerce with us they 
showed themselves to be child-like and ignorant, yet virtuous, 
trustworthy people, without ambition or the thirst of know- 
ledge, but also without jealousy or envy. If ever any breach 
between themselves and the Europeans has been pushed the 
length of violence, such has pretty certainly resulted rather 
from their being in a measure suddenly incited to self-de- 
fence than from any open predisposition to mischief. Wlien 
we inquired of one of the natives in what manner breach of 
faith is punished on the island, he replied with the utmost 
naivete; — "We never have such — we are all good; — but in 
your country there must be many evil men, else what for 
would you require so many guns ? " 

In company with some of the natives we had proceeded 
upon a stroll through the magnificent cocoa-forest along the 
beach, in the course of which we reached several huts 
scattered at random through the thicket, the inhabitants of 
which received us in the most cordial manner. Their wives 
and children however had all retired in a body, and during 
our entire stay never once made their appearance. Indeed 
the natives, in the hope of hastening our departure, pretended 

Scenery of the interior of Kar-Nicohar. 29 

tliat their families had in their panic fled into the forest, and 
must starve of hmiger if we should remain long, and so 
prevent them from returning to their usual abodes. This 
however was but a hoax. The natives knew well enouerh 
where their families were Im-king, and provided them with 
food and drink. This extreme shyness of the female portion 
of tlie population arises apparently from the incivilities ot 
which the sailors of the merchant vessels were guilty towards 
the natives, whose moral feelings and delicacy of mind, con- 
sidering their low state of civilization, becomes doubly ex- 

An attempt to penetrate deeper into the interior of the 
island was baffled through the obstacles which are inter- 
posed by the unchecked luxuriance of tropical nature. The 
vegetation grows densely down to the very sea, which is 
sejjarated fi'om the rich foliage above only by rocky reefs 
and narrow dunes of sand, washed by the furious surf. A 
broad belt of Rhizophor^e^ gigantic Barringtonias^ Pandanus, 
Areca, and cocoa-palms, encircles the island, to which succeeds 
a somewhat higher land grown with dense grass and inter- 
spersed with groups of trees, from which, lastly, spring a few 
thickly wooded peaks of about 150 to 200 feet in height. 
Through this girdle it requires the most violent efforts to 
force one's way, while, on the other hand, it is wholly im- 
possible, owing to the dense tangle of climbing plants and 
bamboo, to advance further into the forest over the grass 
flat, unless a patli be previously cleared with hedge-knives, 

3© Voyage of the No vara. 

wliicli, eveu could more time be devoted, would call for im- 
mense exertion. Om* researches therefore were necessarily 
confined for the most part to the coast region. 

After several hours of strolling about, collecting and exam- 
ining as we went on, the naturalists found themselves collect- 
ed once more on the open space facing Captain John's hut, 
where meanwhile a pig had been roasted by our sailors in the 
open air, which we had purchased for three shillings of our 
corpulent friend Dr. Crisp. The natives had at first protested 
against this improvised hearthstone, being apprehensive 
lest the fire should reach their huts, the roofs of which are 
thatched with dried palm-leaves. "It is as inflammable 
as gun-powder," remarked the old chief in an anxious 
tone, when our people had with great want of fore- 
sight lighted the fire too near the buildings. Captain John 
and his kindred did not need to be invited twice to partake 
of our meal, at which they proved . themselves excellent 
trenchermen. The inhabitants of these islands generally eat 
vegetables only, the use of meat being for the most part 
restricted to festive occasions. The use of salt is as yet 
unknown to them. They only use sea water for the purpose 
of seething their pigs and hens, by which process the flesh 
gets a slight flavour of salt. During our luncheon, which 
had made the natives yet more confiding than ever, we 
found an opportunity of hearing something about the vari- 
ous festivals of the Nicobar islanders. 

When a native falls down from a tree, or is bitten by a 

Singula?' Native Festival. 3 1 

siuikc, or is otherwise wounded or dies, the Nicobarians 
forthwith discontinue all work, and institute a fast, which 
they term Uraka. With the commencement of the S.W. 
monsoons or rainy season (when the wind comes from 
'' yonder," quoth Dr. Crisp, and pointed with his finger to 
the southward), the inhabitants of Kar-Nicobar hold their 
chief festival, which lasts fourteen days, and is called Oilere. 

They have a similar festival at the end of the damp season, 
or N.E. monsoon, to which the pigs, which play quite a con- 
spicuous part in it, impart an entirely peculiar character. 
Several weeks before the commencement of this fete^ a large 
number of these unclean but useful animals are confined 
in small stalls, whence they are released on the feast-day, and 
set loose in a well-fenced space, where they are teased and 
pricked with lances by all the courageous, or rather mis- 
chievous, youth of tlie island. The Nicobarians seem to 
attach special importance to the swine being driven wild, and 
themselves engaged in a regular struggle with the infuriated 
animal, in the course of which severe wounds are by no means 
of rare occurrence. We ourselves saw several young natives, 
who a few days previously had been severely injured in a 
similar contest with some enraged pigs. When this any- 
thing but aesthetic spectacle has lasted some time, the pigs 
are killed, roasted on the fire, and devoured by the combatants 
and spectators. 

A not less strange and even more barbarous festival is 
that which is held about the same time as the one just men- 

3 2 Voyage of the Novara. 

tioned. This consists in exhuming the bones of all those 
who have died during- the year elapsed since the last N.E. 
monsoon, and have been interred in a sort of cemetery- 
called '' CwjucupaP* They next bring these bones into a 
hut, seat themselves in a circle around the ghastly me- 
mentos, and shriek and howl as at the day on which the 
relation died. Wliile this scene of lamentation is going on, 
a lighted cigar is usually stuck into the bony mouth of the 
grisly skull, after which the latter is consigned to the grave 
again. The rest of the bones however are either thrown 
into the deep sea or hid far in the forest, while at the same 
moment, as a further evidence of sorrow, a number of cocoa- 
palms are cut down, and their fruit scattered to the winds. 
By such symbols they apparently wish to express their 
overwhelming grief, their weariness of existence, and their 
indifference to the most valued gifts of nature, so that 
they would even deprive themselves of the most universally 
necessary of the means of subsistence — were it not that, 
owing to the readiness with which the sea-shore palm is pro- 
pagated, the nuts thus scattered at random, in all the indiffer- 
ence to sublunary considerations incidental to a paroxysm 
of grief, speedily strike root, and after a few years lift up 
their heads again in the forest, at once ornamental and nu- 

* This place of interment is situated close to a small village on the north-east 
side of the island, where the graves are visible in the shape of a number of round 
stakes sunk about three or four feet into the earth, which are adorned with all sorts 
of variegated cloths and ribbons. 

Native Villages. — A Forest Scene. i^T) 

At all these festivals the natives assemble in the various 
villages, and at these seasons spend days and weeks with each 
other. Earlier visitors to Kar-Nicobar estimate the nmnber 
of villages on the island at about six or seven only. The 
natives on the other hand gave us the names of the following 
thirteen : Arrong (or Arrow), Saoui, Moose, Lapate, Kinmai, 
Tapoimai, Chukchuitche, Kiukiuka, Tamalu, Paka, Malacca, 
Koniios, and Kankena, which all together would hardly 
number much above 100 huts, and about 800 or 900 in- 

Southward of our anchorage we fell in with a small stream, 
which near its embouchure on the beach was lost in a sand- 
bank. Sonie of the members of the Expedition explored it in 
a very small flat-bottomed boat, a Venetian gondola, which 
was transported across the bar in order to admit of its being 
sculled up the river. At first it was found to be about 2|- 
feet deep, by about 12 to 14 yards in width ; the general 
direction of its very sinuous course being towards E.S.E. All 
around the forest presented a scene to which perhaps only the 
fantastic whimsicality of certain theatrical forest sceneries 
might furnish a dim resemblance. Along the steep bank of 
the river rose to a height of nearly 1 00 feet the slender Nibong 
palm, adorned with blossoms and clusters of fruit, and close 
adjoining the graceful Catechu palm. Gigantic forest-trees, 
with thick squat trunks, extended their shady masses of foliage 
far over the stream ; screw-pines towering up from the scaffold- 
like arrangement of their numerous roots, were reflected fr'om 


24 . Voyage of the Novara. 

the glassy bosom of tlie water ; clumps of bamboo, absolutely 
alive with butterflies ; nymph-like aquatic plants, mossy 
green banks, and tree-ferns with indescribably grace- 
ful corollae, all combined here to form a landscape of the 
most enchanting richness, in the water, on the shore, and in 
the air. Suspended over the whole scene, partly in leaf, 
partly in bloom, a gigantic garland of climbing and creep- 
ing plants, in living cords of every variety of thickness, rose 
in a lofty arch above the limpid element, interlaced and 
girt round with thousands of blooming and flourishing pa- 
rasites I Then, too, from amid the mysterious gloom started 
forth the strangest voices and cries, without our being able to 
descry the animals themselves. In the water^ which was 
perfectly sweet to the taste, swarmed multitudes of fish of 
from one to four inches in length. After rowing about one 
nautical mile and a half up the stream, some rapids and rocks 
prevented our further progress, the stream itself being but 
twelve feet wide. A little further to the east occurs a similar 
small river, which however had even less water, and at its 
mouth is yet more sanded up and inaccessible than that 
above described. 

After we had lain for six days at anchor on the N.W. 
coast of Kar-Nicobar, and were once more casting about how 
to make out oiu^ long-deshed excursion through its almost 
impermeable forests, we suddenly perceived in the distance 
upon the beach two men in European dress, with muskets 

Visit from two European Traders. 35 

upon their shoulders, who, conducted by some absolutely 
naked natives, speedily approached us. One, a fine-looking, 
well-formed young man of about 20, addressed us in French, 
saying he was super-cargo of the Sardinian brig Giovannina 
of Singapore, and was occupied in taking in a cargo of cocoa- 
nuts upon the southern shore of tlie island. The natives 
had been so unsettled by the arrival of a war-ship, that they 
loudly affirmed a pirate ship had made its appearance, 
which would rob and destroy them all ; whereupon the most 
anxious of their number entreated the few whites who fortu- 
nately happened to be among them to start immediately for 
the north side of the island, where the Colossus lay at anchor, 
so as at all events to ascertain what was to be tlieii- fate. 
In the course of the conversation which sprung up between 
ourselves and the two strangers, we found that the super- 
cargo was a Frenchman, born at St. Denis in the island of 
Bourbon, and was named Auguste Tigard, while his com- 
panion was a Sardinian. They were both singularly pale 
and embarrassed on first falling in with us, apparently from 
surprise and delight at finding themselves so unexpectedly in 
the society of white men at so solitarj^ a sj)ot ; ere long how- 
ever they felt themselves more at their ease, visited the 
frigate, were provided with clothes, medicines, and wine, and 
at a later period were of much use to us in our intercourse 
with the natives. Tigard remarked that the sugar-cane, 

which at present grows wild on the island, could, judging by 

D 2 

2 6 Voyage of the Novara. 

Lis own personal experience, be very profitably grown for 
tlie production of sugar, as also that tobacco, cotton, and 
rice thrive in the most conspicuous manner. 

At present the cocoa-palm is the sole plant which is culti- 
vated by the natives of Kar-Nicobar. It supplies them with 
all they require for food and lodging, for house-furniture, or 
for commerce with foreign peoples. The stem of this slender 
column, from 60 to 100 feet in height, by about 2^ in thick- 
ness, with its heavy green thatch of leaves, is very porous 
and slight looking, but is yet stiff and strong enough to furn- 
ish cross-beams, laths, and masts for huts and boats. The 
fibres of the bark and of the nut-shells (known in commerce 
as Coir) supply cordage and line ; the immense fan-shaped 
leaf (3 feet wide by 12 to W in length) of the coronal serves 
as a covering for the roof, as also for plaited work and bask- 
ets. The juice of the nut, shaped like an Q^^-, yet somewhat 
triangular, and about the size of the human head, prevents 
the native from feeling even in the slightest degree the ab- 
sence of available spring water, and is the sole beverage which 
invigorates and refreshes the wayfarer through these forest 
solitudes. Frequently did we experience a glow of thankful- 
ness to all-bounteous Nature, as often as some hospitable 
native handed to us for our refreshment, exhausted and thirsty 
as we were after our fatiguing wanderings, a green cocoa-nut, 
that vegetable spring of the tropical forest.* Tlie kernel of 

* It is customary to call the liquid contents of the green, unripe cocoa-nut by the 
name of cocoa-nut milk ; but it is rather a clear, delightfully palatable water, which 

Intoxicating Properties of fermented Cocoa-nut Juice. 37 

the ripe nut, thoroughly dried and pressed, gives forth a 
strong, clear, tasteless oil, which is used by the natives for 
anointing their skin and hair, and at the same time forms so 
important an article in European commerce, that above 
5,000,000 ripe cocoa-nuts are annually exported through 
foreign mercantile houses in exchange for European fabrics. 
The hard shell of the cocoa-nut is the sole drinking cup 
of the Nicobar islanders, and the cooling, refreshing juice, 
which is extracted by an incision in the sheath of the 
palm-blossom before the latter has expanded, is the sole 
fermented beverage of which they make use. Wlien 
brought into a state of fermentation it possesses similar in- 
toxicating effects with the Chicha of the American Indian. 
Here, as among other half-savage races, we had occasion to 
remark, that the chief food of the aborigines is also made 
available for supplying them with their favom-ite liquid 
stimulant, and just as the native of India effects this pm-pose 
with rice, the African from the Yucca, or the Yam, the 
South-sea Islander with the Kawa, and the Mexican with the 
Maize or the Agave, so the inhabitant of the Nicobars avails 
himself of the cocoa-nut at once for the supply of the first 
necessities of his existence, and the excitement of his brain by 
artificial stimulant. 

neither in colour nor taste at all resembles milk. This is obtained or pressed from the 
white, sweet, rather hard kernel, which is itself extraordinarily nutritive, and forms the 
daily food of the inhabitants. For an entire month, during which we could procure 
neither cows' nor goats' milk, we experimented on the use of the fluid obtained from 
the ripe cocoa-nut in our tea and coffee, and found it so excellent that we hardly felt 
the privation of animal milk. 

38 Voyage of the Novara. 

On 27tli February, towards evening, after a stay of seven 
days on the north side of Kar-Nicobar, which had been spent 
in scientific operations of the most varied natui'e, we again 
set sail, and next morning cast anchor on the south side of the 
same island, close to the village of Komios. The current, 
which at this point sets to the E.S. E., runs about three miles 
an hour, so long as the flood-tide continues, but as soon as 
the ebb-tide sets in, it chops round, and runs with greatly di- 
minished velocity. The landings on the south side, which, on 
leaving the northern promontory, shows a much richer vege- 
tation, are somewhat difficult to discover, since at almost all 
points reefs and coral-banks project from the shore far into 
the sea, so that after doubling the cape it is necessary to stop 
short a pretty considerable distance from the land. 

While we were coasting along the eastern shore we could 
perceive through the telescope, at the village of Lapate, con- 
sisting of some eight or ten huts, a great number of women 
and children, who were rushing to and fro among the huts in 
the utmost confusion, till suddenly all disappeared in the 
forest. These were evidently fugitives from the north side, 
who were now once more betaking themselves to the forest, 
accompanied by the native females of the east and south sides, 
when they saw the dreaded floating giant approaching them. 
A beach of dazzling white coral-sand, sprinkled over with 
thousands of living mussels, low melancholy-looking man- 
grove swamps, and a superb forest of trees with lofty stems, 
through which lay a beaten footpath, was all that the flat shore 

Sudden disappearance of the Native Females. 39 

offered to our view. The Frencliman already mentioned had 
indeed apprized the inhabitants of our arrival, and had endea- 
voured to explain to them our friendly intention, but it was in 
vain, — the greater portion of the population had taken to flight, 
and only dogs and armed men were left behind. Here also 
we could not see a single woman. However, we were in- 
formed by M. Tigard, who lived several weeks in the village 
of Kankena, and had been treated by the natives as one of 
themselves, that the Nicobar women have their hair cut quite 
short, and simply wind round their dusky bodies, all smeared 
with oil, a piece of white or red calico at the loins. They are 
generally ugly, but strictly vii-tuous, and regard the Eu- 
ropeans as an inferior race, as compared with their native 

■ As we were making for the land in what is called Komios 
Bay, near the village of the same name (situate according to 
our observations in 9° 37' 32" N. Lat. and 92° 43' 42" E. Long.), 
a number of stalwart natives approached us from the forest, 
one of whom, who called himself Captain Wilkinson, proved 
to be the most intelligent and graceful of their number. He 
was extremely eager to give us a lot of information resj)ecting 
the more southerly islands of the Nicobar Archipelago, with 
which the inhabitants of the southern coast appear to carry 
on more extensive commerce than those on the northern 
shore. Dm-ing the N.E. monsoons, canoes occasionally start 
hence for the islands of Teressa, Bampoka, and ChoAvry. 
Wilkinson himself once visited these islands in the barque 

40 Voyage of the Novara. 

Cecilia of Moulmein, with the view of fetching cocoa-nuts. 
The natives of Teressa, however, showed such determined 
hostility to the captain of the vessel, that Wilkinson advised 
him to abandon the island without further delay, ere the in- 
tended shipment of cocoa-nuts was comple.ted. 

Another English captain, named Iselwood, seems once to 
have carried over some natives of Teressa to Kar-Nicobar, and 
afterwards taken them back again. There does not exist, 
however, any regular commercial intercourse between Kar- 
Nicobar and the remaining islands of the Archipelago. The 
boats of the natives are much too small, and unsuitable to 
admit of their undertaking voyages to any distance, unless 
for some very important purpose, such, for instance, as bring- 
ing pottery ware from the island of Chowry, or Chowra, 
where alone in the Archipelago that manufacture is car- 
ried on. 

The Frenchman, Tigard, affirmed that the natives con- 
stantly spoke of another race of men inhabiting the interior, 
who have but one eye in the middle of the forehead, who pos- 
sess no fixed habitation, but pass the night among the trees 
like wild beasts, and subsist upon fruits and roots dug up in 
the forest. This superstition meets with the more ready ac- 
ceptance among the natives, as not one of them has ever pene- 
trated into the interior. All their villages lie along the shore, 
as far as the tract of coral sand reaches and the cocoa-nut is 
thriving. Here the frugal native finds all that is necessary to 
satisfy his very limited requirements. The cocoa-palm and 

Frugal Fare of Natives. — Gigantic Bat. 41 

the screw-pine (Pandanus odoratissima), whose fruit forms his 
chief article of food, as also the betel-shrub and the Areca 
palm, which furnish their cherished masticatory, grow here, 
and the coral sand, which can be worked into the most excel- 
lent lime for building purposes, is only used by them for the 
purpose of obtaining that ingredient so ^prejudicial to the 
teeth, which serves to impart to the betel the j)roper relish. 

From a passing observation of Wilkinson's we gathered 
that occasionally, during the S. W. monsoons, earthquakes are 
experienced at Kar-Nicobar, and this volcanic indication is 
yet more strongly marked on the adjoining island of Bam- 
poka. Despite the almost stifling heat, which raised the 
column of mercury to 99° in the shade, some of the members 
of the expedition endeavoured to penetrate, with indescribable 
toil, into the swampy forest tract along the shore, and eventu- 
ally succeeded in bringing back several objects which, though 
few in number, were of the utmost importance, and well re- 
paid their labour. Among tlie animals knocked over, there 
was a gigantic bat, or flying Maki (Pterops), the native name 
of which is Daiahm. 

A foot-track led direct through the forest, cutting off the 
southern corner of the island towards the western side. The 
natives had in vain endeavoui'ed, with their customary im- 
portunities, to deter us from following this path, assuring us 
that we should land ourselves in the thick of the jungle, which 
was full of poisonous serpents. However, nothing would 
serve us but to penetrate for once a little deeper into the 

42 Voyage of the Novara. 

forest. A youthful native, of the most elegant and s}Tnme- 
trical proportions, followed us at a long interval, but disap- 
peared finally in the woods. We wandered along in deep 
shadow between lofty colossal banyan trees with hundreds of 
stems, and trunks interlaced with enormous branches of ivy, 
from whose summits hung down lianas of all sizes and dimen- 
sions, by which one might have clambered to the top as though 
by a rope, between trees with smooth and glossy, or scarred 
and rugged, bark, which were thickly overgrow^n w^ith parasiti- 
cal plants. Enormous crabs, with fiery red claw^s, and bodies of 
the most lovely blue-black, fled before us to their Im^king 
places in the depth of the forest. On right and left amid the 
parched foliage was heard the rustling of lizards, and from 
the summits of the imposing forest trees resounded the musi- 
cal hum of swarms of cicada^ while green and rose-coloured 
parrots flew shrieking from branch to branch, and from the 
boughs and tendinis was heard the call of the Mania, or the 
cooing, murmm-ing love-note of the great Nicobar wood-pigeon. 
Gradually the noise of the surf became once more audible, 
like distant thunder, just where a few cocoa-nut palms and 
screw pmes mingled with the laurel trees around. AYe had 
reached the beach again. 

The same day, towards 4 p. m., the frigate quitted the 
south coast of Kar-Nicobar, and steered in a S.S.E. direction 
towards the little island of Batte-Malve, about twenty-one 
miles distant, in the neighbourhood of which we kept beating 
about the whole of the following day, without being able, in 

Pass Batte-Malve. — Approach Tillangschong. 43 

consequence of a stiff breeze and strong contrary current, 
to approach it sufficiently near for a boat to get to land, 
and thus enable us to make a more complete examination. 
Batte-Malve is a small, entirely uninhabited island, some two 
miles in length, and seems to be of a quadrangular form ; 
the U23per portion is thickly wooded; the highest elevation 
being from 150 to 200 feet. Towards the N.W. the*island 
becomes somewhat flattened when approaching the coast, 
whereas on the west side, as also on the S. and S.E. shores, 
the rocks descend perpendicularly into the sea. According 
to our observations, instituted on the spot, there is in the 
longitude, as we ascertained it, when compared with that as- 
signed by the officers of the Galatea, a discrepancy of ten 
nautical miles. 

Early on the morning of the 3rd of March, while still to the 
N.W. of Batte-Malve, but steering a S.E. course, the islands 
of Teressa, Cho^vry, and Bampoka became visible at a dis- 
tance of from eight to ten nautical miles. From the main- 
mast-head we could also descry further to the eastward the 
island of Tillangschong, to which we were now proceeding. 

Next morning we found ourselves close in with its N.E. 
promontory. Both wind and weather were highly favom-able, 
the look-out man was stationed upon the fore-top, the lead 
line on being hove overboard with forty fathoms found no 
bottom, and the water had the deep blue colom^ of the open 
ocean. We were therefore able to approach the shore fearlessly, 
and accordingly stood in till we were barely 100 feet distant 

44 Voyage of the Novara. 

from tlie steep octagonal-shaped cliff, which rises like a bastion 
at the north extremity of the island. We now edged off with 
the frigate and ran mider the lee of the land, coasting along 
the west side from north to south, never above 150 or 200 feet 
distant from the shore ; so close, in short, that, standing on 
the deck, it seemed almost possible to stretch out the hand 
and tduch the beetling shore-cliffs, every stone and shrub being 
perfectly distinguishable. Only a narrow rocky belt over- 
hanging the surf appeared barren of vegetation, the entire 
island with that exception being covered with dense forest to 
the very summits, from 400 to 600 feet in height, of the steep, 
projecting, knob-like eminences. It was a delightful, never- 
to-be-forgotten sail along this rock-bound coast, the romantic 
beauties of which passed before us like green dissolving views. 
The sea was so smooth and peaceful that we seemed to be sail- 
ing on a mill-pond. At last we opened a small sandy cove, in 
which we perceived a few cocoa-nut palms directly opposite. 
Here the lead promised us good holding ground, and the 
anchor was accordingly let go. 

One of the side-boats conveyed to land the officers entrusted 
with the astronomical operations, as also the naturalists. Only 
with the utmost difficulty was it possible to make way through 
the surf, and get under the lee of a reef, whence it was requi- 
site to make a spring to get ashore. At the spot at which we 
landed (named by us Morrock's Cove, and according to ob- 
servation in 8" 32' 30" N. and 93° 34' 10" E.) the island was 
almost exclusively clothed with trees and brushwood. Only 

Scenery of Tillangschong. — Boat Expedition. 45 

close to the shore did any cocoa-nut pahiis present themselves 
to the view. Although quite uninhabited at the period of our 
visit, it was evident, by the traces of abandoned fire-places, split 
cocoa-nuts, and so forth, that human beings occasionally make 
this island their abode, albeit the assertion repeated by several 
writers, that Tillangschong is the Siberia of Nicobar criminals, 
can only be set down to travellers' tales, or some utter misap- 
prehension of the meaning of the natives. It would seem 
that the residents in Chowra and Bampoka come to this 
island from time to time, for the purpose of collecting cocoa- 
nuts, and the fruit of the pandanus. By dint of strenuous 
exertion we made our way along river com'ses, which dur- 
ing the rainy season must rush down as most violent torrents, 
through a thick plantation of screw pines, into the forest pro- 
per, which was overgrown with the most majestic representa- 
tives of tropical vegetation. To the botanist presented itself 
a great variety of interesting plants and timber ; to the lovers 
of sport numerous descriptions of bu'ds, and more especially 
pigeons, in such quantities that the various messes on board 
ship were amply provided with them. 

Sundown saw us returned on board, when the anchor was 
once more weighed. During the night we got so close in with 
the north side of the island that, on the following morn- 
ing, a boat well-manned and carefully equijiped was de- 
tached with one of the officers, who was instructed to round 
the northernmost promontory, in order to examine the north- 
ern and eastern sides of the island, and rejoin us on its 

46 Voyage of the Novara. 

southern shore. One of the zoologists, conceiving this minor 
expedition would fui'nish him with an excellent opportunity for 
examining some of the lower orders of marine life, attached 
himself to it. The frigate now put about, and coasted down 
the west side southwards. Seen from a distance the vegeta- 
tion seemed quite of a European character. The eminences 
varied in elevation from 250 to 300 feet. Judging from the 
direction of the foliage on the trees, the S. W. monsoon seems 
to commit great ravages. Everywhere along the coast, but 
more especially on the south side, serpentine cropped out — 
giving little promise of fertility. At many spots the cocoa- 
palms disappeared entirely ; a circumstance which must ever 
interfere materially with the settlement of this island by a 
people to whom the most profuse natural treasures are worth- 
less and unknown, beyond wealth in cocoa-nuts. 

Near the southern point we were suddenly alarmed at no- 
ticing an alteration in the colour of the sea, which led us to 
suspect the proximity of a sand bank. Nevertheless a boat, 
lowered to try for soundings, found no bottom at 45 fathoms. 
In fact, the water was found to be transfused with an enor- 
mous mass of crustacece, and small brownish filaments of 4V to 
tV of an inch in length, occasionally collected into a knot, 
which rendered it cloudy and muddy, and at once explained 
a phenomenon at first sight so unexpected. Towards 5 p. m. 
we passed the southern point of the island, and somewhat later 
discovered a well-sheltered anchorage on the S. E. side of the 

An anxious Night. — ^teer for Nang kauri. 47 

Considerable anxiety was felt as the sun went down, since 
the boat that had been disj^atchcd not only had not re- 
joined us but was not yet even visible. As soon as darkness 
had fairly set in, blue lights were burnt on board the frigate, 
of which the third was at last responded to by the crew of the 
boat, which had been provided with port-fires for such a con- 
tingency. It seemed to be steering for the frigate. Hour 
after hour, however, flew by without its approaching us, and 
the rest of our signals remained unanswered. Thus morning 
broke, and still no boat was visible. 

At length, about 7.30 a.m., the anxiously expected little 
wanderer hove in sight at a little distance, and half an hour 
later she came alongside all safe. The jji'ojected operations 
had been only partially successful, owing to the extreme dif- 
fiiculty in maldng a landing. Surprised by nightfall, it was 
no longer practicable to make out the ten nautical miles at 
least they were still distant from the frigate, and the scanty 
crew consequently saw nothing for it but to anchor close in 
with the shore, and await the light of dawn in the boat. The 
cause of our later blue lights not being answered, was partly 
the want of a sufficient supply of signal lights, part having 
been already expended, and the rest having got damp. 

We now steered for Nangkauri harbour. Full in view lay 
the north shore of the island of Kamorta, and, as we glided 
smoothly thither over the glassy sea, it loomed gradually 
nearer ; an island of flat-topped hills, which, despite its rank 
vegetation, had a park-like aspect, consequent on the alterna- 

48 Voyaye of the Novara. 

tions of forest and grass-slopes with the white coral beach, 
crowned with cocoa-palms. Gradually the island of Tringkut 
came into view, singularly level, and abounding in cocoa- 
palms and edible sea-slugs (Trepang), lying directly facing 
the entrance of the harbour-like channel, between Kamorta 
and Nangkauri. Our course, on which we were being pro- 
pelled on a beautiful evening by a gentle soft wind wliich 
wafted us slowly but surely forwards, was indeed entrancingly 
delicious. Directly ahead lay the low strand of Tringkut, 
shimmering whitely under the dark green canopy of foliage, 
while the long swell, breaking on the coral reefs like glancing 
walls of foam, sunk away in the distance into the smooth 
mirror-like sea, which rose and fell almost impercej)tibly, as 
though peacefully breathing. On the left lay Nangkauri, with 
its forests. On both sides of Kamorta and Nangkauri, huts 
and villages were visible sprinkled along the shore, from 
which numerous natives put off in their canoes to the frigate, 
but presently lay on their oars at a respectful distance, and 
followed us like a sort of squadron of observation. On the 
right was visible in mid-channel between Tringkut and 
Kamorta the solitary rocky island of Tillangschong ; the 
shores of all these islands, and indeed the whole horizon, 
being lit up with a gorgeous Fata Morgana. The extreme 
southernmost cliffs of Tillangschong seemed to be susjiended 
entirely in the air. The corners, at wliich jutted out the 
coast lines of Tringkut and Kamorta, seen along the horizon 
of the ocean resembled wedge-shaped incisions into the do- 

Fine Mirage. — Frigate grounds, hut is got off. 49 

main of the atmosphere ; while the tips of the waves, lashed 
into foam as they broke upon them, seemed as if dancing in 
the air. The canoes of the natives were reflected upside 
down, till the figures seated in them were so enormously- 
lengthened that one could almost fancy they were gigantic 
^ genii ' disporting on the surface of the sea. 

As we were sailing along in front of the village of Malacca 
into the splendid harbour, and just as the lead had almost 
a moment before marked 23 fathoms, the look-out man sud- 
denly descried a shoal. Notwithstanding the manoeuvres 
that were at once put in execution, it was found impossible to 
get entirely clear, and the frigate grounded forward of the 
beam on the port-side. Although it was ebb tide, yet deep 
water was observable both ahead and astern, and accord- 
ingly an effort was made, by running out the guns and laying 
out a spring for the frigate to haul upon, to get the ship once 
more afloat, which accordingly speedily proved successful, so 
that by sundown we were enabled to anchor in good holding 
ground, opposite the village of Itoe, in the island of Nang- 

Here we lay in a calm, tranquil sheet of water, such as 
we had not fallen in with throughout our voyage hitherto, 
surrounded by dense forest, from which were heard dis- 
tinctly, on board ship, the disagreeable shrill sound of in- 
numerable crickets, and the deep coo of the great Nicobar 
wood-pigeon. Except for these, the most profound stillness 
reigned. There was not the smallest movement either in sea 


5o Voyage of the Novara. 

or sky. Although on our excursion to Kar-Nicobar we had 
to endure great heat, it was liere that for the first time we 
experienced in all its discomfort the oppressive, relaxing 
sultriness of the tropical atmosphere, when satm-ated with 
vapour. The thermometer stood pretty regularly at 84^ to 
^^"^ Fahr., nor was it possible to find any relief by plunging 
into the water, which was if anything even warmer than the 
air. Hemmed in on all sides, and with the welcome bene- 
ficent sea-breeze frequently ceasing to blow for a week to- 
gether, it was speedily pronounced a riddle, impossible to be 
solved, how this harbour came to be once and again selected 
by German and Danish Missionaries for the purposes of 
colonization, unless the key to the mystery be found in its 
secure situation, the exquisite beauty of the mountain land- 
scape, and the numerous clear spots around. 

The very morning after our arrival we set out on a small 
reconnoitring excursion to examine the ground, in order to 
decide, among so many objects claiming our attention at 
once, what, considering the brief time at oui' disposal, we 
might hope to undertake successfully, and what must once 
for all be abandoned. Our first visit was to the village of 
Itoe, which lay directly opposite our frigate's anchorage. 
The natives had all fled into the forest, only their dogs 
having remained behind, who saluted us with a tremendous 
howl. The huts, six or eight in number, had a poor, miser- 
able appearance, and were built close to a cocoa forest, so 
that there was not the slightest space to move about in be- 

Native Char'ms, and Native Burial-grounds. 5 1 

tween the huts, the forest, and the luxuriant underwood, so 
that free circulation of air was entirely prevented. In front of 
the village a number of Bamboo poles, with large bunches of 
ribbons waving about fi'om their upper end, were stuck into 
the water, for the purpose of frightening away the evil spirit 
or Eewee, and di^iving him into the sea ! In the interior of 
these few huts built of stakes, and of much inferior construc- 
tion to those in Kar-Nicobar, was a large number of rudely 
cut figures of all possible sizes, and every variety of position, 
suspended by strings, and supplying the most unmistakeable 
evidence of the superstitions of the natives. We had never 
seen these kinds of charms against the evil spii'it at Kar- 
Nicobar, nor had even heard them spoken of. Quite close 
to the huts was the place of interment. At one grave, appar- 
ently quite lately used, a large pole was erected, which was 
adorned with innumerable white and blue stripes waving in 
the wind, and from which had also been suspended axes, 
piles, bars, nails, and other tools and implements of labom' 
of the deceased, so that the whole scene much more re- 
sembled a rag-shop than a grave heap. 

From Itoe we proceeded to the peak of Monghata, on the 
island of Kamorta, lying just opposite Nangkauri. It was 
here that, in 1831, Pastor Rosen wished to found the pro- 
jected settlement. He could hardly have selected a more 
unsuitable site, since all around is either dense forest or 
mangrove-swamp. The spots that had been cleared are now 

overgroAvn with Saccharum Konigii (Lalang grass), of the 

E 2 

_52 Voyage of the Novara. 

height of a man, which usually follows here upon spots that 
have been once cultivated and are afterwards abandoned, and 
which, if once taken root, can only with the utmost difficulty 
be eradicated. From this peak, barely 200 feet in height, it 
is practicable to descend by a small footpath to the cove of 
Ulh,la, whose shores are entirely overrun with dense im- 
passable mangrove-swamp, and accordingly present a most 
dreary, gloomy aspect. 

Our next excursion was to the village of Enuang or Enong, 
where lay at anchor, under the British flag, two Malay 
prahus from Pulo-Penang, manned by Malay crews, and 
taking in cargoes of ripe cocoa-nuts, edible birds' nests, and 
sea-slugs, or Trepang. Tlie captain of one of these prahus and 
the greater number of the crew were laid up with fever. 
The supercargo, a Chinese named Owi-Bing-Hong, spoke 
English fluently, and was of the utmost service to us in our 
communications with the natives. Enuang is larger than 
Itoe, and has about a dozen huts, but these are one and all 
half-ruinous, very filthy, and utterly neglected. In all the 
huts we found numbers of figures, cut in white wood in the 
very rudest style in various postures, mostly with a threaten- 
ing, combative expression, intended to drive away the evil 
spirit, of whom the natives seem to stand in great dread; 
for it is the universal practice of these islanders to ascribe 
whatever happens to them to the influence of an evil spirit, 
and probably also the appearance of the Novara in the har- 
bour of Nangkauri was laid to the account of the ill in- 

Traces of early Portuguese Settlements. 53 

tentions of an Eewee. One constantly sees fruit, tobacco, or 
betel-leaves, prepared with pearl-lime, strewed in small por- 
tions at various spots in the interiors of the huts, or suspend- 
ed on the bamboo ladders by which they are entered, the 
object being to propitiate the Eewee in the event of his 
being hungry on his arrival ! In one of the abandoned huts we 
discovered a figure resembling a cat, rudely carved in wood, 
before which the natives had placed tobacco and cocoa-nuts ; 
almost all these figures were besmeared with soot, and 
daubed with some red pigment, and their abdomens hung 
with long pendent dried palm-leaves. 

Not one of the natives at Enuang understood English. 
Only a couple of old men spoke a few words of Portuguese, 
of which they were not a little conceited. The Portuguese, 
in the 17th and 18th centuries, seem to have been the first 
Em'opean nations that had any commercial dealings with 
the Nicobar islanders. A number of words of their language, 
all referring to objects of civilization, and but little corrupted 
from the Portuguese, such for instance as "pang" (for pan, 
the Portuguese for bread), " zapato" (shoe)," cuchillo" (knife), 
and so forth, are evidences of this. The natives here seemed 
to us yet more hideous than those of Kar-Nicobar, especially 
as the everlasting betel-chewing had disfigui-ed their mouths 
in the most shocking manner. It is however incorrect to 
allege, as has been the case hitherto, that they avail them- 
selves of a particular substance mth which to discolour the 
teeth, and wliich it was supposed induced this fi'ightful dis- 

54 Voyage of the Novara. 

tortion of the mouth ; it is unquestionably only the abuse of 
the betel (consisting of Areca-nut, betel-leaves, and coral 
chalk) which causes these disgusting disfigurements. At this 
settlement also the women and children had disappeared. 
Only one native woman, married to a Malay from Pulo- 
Penang, who was at the moment officiating as cook on board 
one of the prahus lying at anchor in the bay, had the courage 
to present herself before us. She was, according to the cus- 
tom of the Malays, dressed in silk, but bore on her body all 
the disagreeable traces of her Nicobar origin. She showed 
no reluctance to talk with us, and, in her somewhat scanty 
toilette, was the one solitary native woman with whom we 
found an opportunity of communicating during our entire 
stay at the various islands. 

From Enuang we visited the first settlement of the Moravian 
Brothers, lying on the small neck of land between Enuang 
and Malacca, where apparently the amiable Father Hansel 
seems to have lived, for whose interesting memoir, narrating 
his many years' residence upon the Nicobar Islands, we were 
indebted to the kindness of Dr. Rosen of the Moravian Mission 
at Genaadendal in South Africa.* At present all is once 
more thick majestic forest ; a marvellous leafy dome, like a 
green pantheon, encircles and overshadows the scene of the 
once benevolent activity of the devoted missionary. Only a 
ruined well and a few brick fragments of what was the oven, 

* See Vol. T., p. 240. 

Mortality at the Moravian Settlement. z^t^ 

lying about, remain to sliow that a dwelling once stood here. 
At the well there were a variety of beautiful flowers grooving 
between the stones. The place is still called, as then, Trip- 
jet, or the '' Habitation of the Friends." Here in quick 
succession most of the Brethren died, (no fewer than eleven 
out of the thirteen,) upon which the mission was transferred 
to the opposite island of Kamorta, first of all to the clearing 
at Kalaha, and ultimately to Kamut. But all these sites 
were as ill-selected as the first. An abode located between 
swamp and forest, of which latter only a space of barely 
1000 feet in circumference was cleared, could not but prove 
fatal in a very short space of time to the unfortunate colonists. 
At the village of Enuang too it would seem to be that the last 
attempt at founding a settlement was made in 1835 by the 
two French missionaries ; at least we were informed by 
several natives, who seemed to be at present about 34 to 36 
years of age, that they were themselves but boys when the 
last missionaries lived at Nangkauri. They also further re- 
collected that the gigantic cocoa-palms, which at present skirt 
the forest, were at that time quite small saplings, and the 
only vegetation between the beach and the mission house. 
At present enormous roots are stretching over the foundations 
of the earlier settlement. The natives who accompanied us 
spoke with warm feeling of the missionaries, and seemed to 
regret theii' departm-e. Many professed themselves with much 
earnestness to be Christians, but they were so only in name. 
According to what they reported, many natives must at that 

^6 Voyage of the Nov am. 

period have been baptized in the islands of Cliowra and 

During tliis visit to Enuang and Malacca, it had been one 
of the objects aimed at by the members of the Expedition to 
di'aw up a small vocabulary of the language of the natives, 
when it speedily aj^peared that, despite the proximity of the 
two islands, the dialects used by the inhabitants were en- 
tirely different. Even for trees and plants, for the feathered 
inhabitants of the forests, as well as domestic animals, the in- 
habitants of the central groups of islands have different names. 
The cocoa-palm and its noble fruit, the betel and its ingredients, 
are here known by entirely different names. The accurate 
transcription of each individual word into German as pro- 
nounced by the native was hard work. It took us two days 
to make a vocabulary of one hundred words ! And even this 
slight success would have been impossible but for our service- 
able Chinese friend, Bing-Hong, who had gone to school for 
two years at Pulo-Penang, and could read and write English 
with tolerable readiness and accuracy. The distortion of their 
mouths is one main reason why the natives pronounce the 
greater number of their words almost unintelligibly ; it is 
more a lisping mutter than a language. Hence, apparently, 
their ability to follow out the concatenation of ideas is so 
slightly developed, that it is only with much difficulty they 
can be made to comprehend the particular subject respecting 
which the information was wanted. For example, if it was 
wished to know the word in their language which expressed 

Ohtuseness of the Natives. — Climatic Peculiarities. 57 

'' hliie^^'' and in order to make more intelligible what was 
required, a variety of objects of a blue colour were pointed out, 
they almost invariably named the object itself, and not the 
colour. Or again, one wanted to know what they called 
" leaf in their language, and indicated the leaf of a tree 
standing near; the native, however, replies by giving the 
name of the tree itself., instead of the word expressing leaf. 
It seems to us not unimportant to call attention to this cir- 
cumstance, in order more completely to lay before the reader 
the great and manifold obstacles which present themselves 
in drawing up vocabularies of the languages of half-savage 
races, and thus more readily secure indulgence for the dis- 
crepancies which are frequently to be met with in such 

Bing-Hong invited us to pay him a visit on board his vessel, 
which had already been lying for several months at anchor 
in Nangkauri harbour, taking in a cargo of ripe cocoa-nuts, 
of which a Picul, or 133 J pounds, is worth in the Pulo-Penang 
market b\ American dollars (£1 35. sterling). This hospit- 
able Chinese informed us it was at the period of our visit the 
least unhealthy season in Nangkauri harbour : that as soon as 
the S.W. monsoon sets in, all foreign ships hurry away, 
through dread of the illnesses that follow in its track. How- 
ever, feverish attacks are of daily occurrence throughout the 

* This vocabulary, which probably wall not be found altogether valueless for the 
purposes of comparative philology, as also for the assistance of future travellers, will 
appear at the end of this volume as an Appendix. 

5 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

year. Of tlie thirteen men who formed the crew of the 
barque, ten were laid up with fever. The disorderly habits 
of life, however, of foreign visitors are much more to blame 
for these frequent attacks of disease than the unhealthiness of 
the climate. Constantly they are guilty of excesses in diet 
and general negligence of health, bathing during the utmost 
heat of the day without any covering to the head, exposing 
themselves to the burning rays of the noonday sun, drinking 
for tlie most part nothing but the fluid contents of the unripe 
cocoa-nut, eating quantities of juicy fruits, the constant use of 
which acts injuriously on the systems of strangers, and sleep- 
ing on the damp soil under the open air, exposed to all the 
noxious influences of the atmosphere of a tropical forest with- 
out the slightest shelter. Bing-Hong showed us the dried 
edible nests of the Hirundo esculenta (in Malay Salang^ in 
Nicobar Ilegai), and presented us with a small packet of about 
thirty nests. When properly dried, seventy-two of these 
tiny nests weigh one catty, or lq;lb., and they are sold at 
two rupees (4^.) for three of the inferior sort. The best 
quality is far more expensive. We caused some of these 
Chinese dainties to be prepared exactly as prescribed by 
Bing-Hong, that is to say, they were boiled for one hour in 
hot water, but we found the gelatinous mass quite tasteless, 
and, in fact, resembling dissolved gum. The swallow which 
constructs these edible nests does not however seem to be a 
regular visitant of the Nicobar Islands, and the profits on this 
article of commerce, which is of such importance in Java and 

New Theorij of the Edible Swallow-nests. 59 

the rest of the Sunda Islands, are here scarcely worth 

It has been long disputed whence this industrious little 
warbler obtains the material for his nest, and it was in all 
probability the circumstance that it was generally believed 
to consist of particles of sea-weed, fish-roe, and marine ani- 
malculse of the medusa class, which secured for these nests 
such a celebrity among Chinese gourmands. A German 
naturalist, Professor Troschel of Bonn, affirms however, on 
the strength of an analysis of these nests, that the notion 
hitherto prevalent as to the component parts of these nests 
is entirely erroneous, as they consist of nothing else than a 
thick, glutinous slime, secreted from the salivary glands, 
which, at the period when the Indian swallow builds its nest, 
swell out into large whitish masses. This slime, which is 
susceptible of being drawn out in long filaments from the bill 
of the animal, is quite analogous to gum Arabic. Whenever the 
bird is desirous of constructing its nest, it causes this salivary 
substance, which at that period is copiously secreted, to ad- 
here to the crags, till its elegant nest is finished. 

One of the days during which the frigate lay in Nangkauri 
harbour, the geologist of the Expedition made an excursion 
in a native canoe along the coasts of Kamorta and Tringkut, 
as these islands at the points where the shores are precipitous 
furnish the only possible geognostic facilities, the forest or the 
thick covering of vegetation in the interior of the island 
quite concealing the geological conformation. Our Chinese 

6o Voyage of the Novara. 

friend Bing-Hong aforesaid accompanied him in the capacity 
of interpreter. When the geologist had got some distance 
from the frigate, he found that the natives had not abandoned 
their villages, and to this one alone of our fellow-travellers, 
manned and rowed along by natives, did some of the women 
become visible. They were as tall as the men, and quite as 
loathsome in appearance, the mouth similarly disfigured by 
betel-chewing, but the hair cut short. Around the body they 
wore a petticoat of red or blue cloth, reaching from the loins 
to the knee. 

Another excursion was made to Ulala Cove, distant about 
four nautical miles from our anchorage on the W. side of the 
island of Kamorta, on which occasion our Venetian gondola, 
specially constructed for similar expeditions, was pressed into 
the service. The entrance to the cove is about t of a mile in 
breadth, after which it expands in an easterly direction with 
varying width, at the same time sending off arms in every 
direction. The vegetation is exceedingly luxuriant and 
plentiful, and along the swampy shore consists mainly of 
mangrove bushes, which at most points make it almost im- 
practicable to disembark, and impart to the entire bay a 
drear}^, desolate appearance. At the few villages scattered 
along the shore, most of the natives had taken to flight. On 
this occasion, however, it was not child-like terror that had 
driven them away, but an evil conscience, for among the 
other inhabitants this bay enjoys the sad reputation of hav- 
ing on various occasions massacred the crews of small vessels, 

Ferocious Natives. — Survey of Nangkauri Harbour. 6i 

after having plundered tliem of everything. So strong is 
this feeling that the natives of the rest of the Nicobar group, 
according to their own rej)ort, refuse to have anything to do 
with this ferocious set, and could not by any means be in- 
duced to accompany us in their canoes as far as Ulala Cove. 
The frigate lay five days in Nangkauri harbour, until the 
soundings and general survey of this large bay with its 
numerous branches had been completed, when, on the morn- 
ing of the 11th March, she sailed, with a fresh breeze from 
N.W., through the western entrance, which is scarcely a 
hundred fathoms wide, by fourteen in depth, and is marked 
by two rocky pinnacles. Directly opposite lies the island of 
Katchal, thickly wooded to the water-edge, and stretch- 
ing out long and low, without any marked elevation above 
sea-level. We now sailed in between these islands of Katchal 
and Kamorta in a northerly direction towards the islands of 
Teressa and Bampoka. On the W. side of Kamorta a num- 
ber of villages were visible ; on the N.W. we perceived at 
several spots natural meadows, while hereabouts the land 
gradually culminated into the highest point of the island, — a 
conical hill, rising not very far from the shore, almost entirely 
without trees, except where near the summit a number of 
bushes and shrubs nestled in a sort of hollow. Three days 
were now lost in unsuccessful attempts to make head-way 
against wind and tide, so that for four mortal days we were 
tossed about in full view of Bampoka, Teressa, and Cliowra, 
never indeed above twenty miles distant, yet utterly unable to 

62 Voyage of the Novara. 

make any one of them. As the time at our disposal for visit- 
ing these was exhausted in consequence of this unexpected 
difficulty, we were, very much to our regret, compelled to 
forego the satisfaction of setting foot on either of these 
islands, which, especially Chowra, would have presented a 
rare opportunity of examining the effect upon tropical races 
of men of an excess of population. That rather barren 
island possesses, it seems, more inhabitants than it has the 
means of subsisting, and appears to be the only spot of the 
entire Nicobar group where the natives follow industrial 
avocations. All manner of pottery ware comes from Chowi'a, 
so that it would almost seem as though the lamentable spec- 
tacle of a superabundant population had given tlie natives 
the first impulse towards active industry. 

In the island of Teressa the Austrian Expedition had a 
more special interest, in so far as it is by no means improbable 
that the adventurous Bolts, who in 1778 visited the Nico- 
bar Archipelago in the Austrian ship Joseph and Theresa^ 
named this island, as he already had done in the case of a 
fort on the coast of Africa, after the renowned Austrian Em- 
press, which, corrupted by the native dialect, had been 
gradually transformed into Teressa or Terassa. 

At sunrise on the 17th March there loomed on the horizon 
in a S.E. direction, first the island of Meroe, than the two 
small islands of Treis and Track, and lastly the long moun- 
tain-chain of Little Nicobar, with the beautiful island of 
Pulo Milu. Tlie breeze was light, and a current of a velocity 

Vast quantities of Pigeons on Treis. — Yisit Pulo 3Iilu. 63 

of five miles an hour, which ran rushing and seething like a 
mill-race througli the calm sea, so completely checked our 
progress that the anchor had to be let go. This procured us 
the very unexpected pleasure of visiting these two small 
wooded islands. Owing to the heavy surf, we only suc- 
ceeded in effecting a landing by the assistance of some 
natives, whom we happened to fall in with in their canoes 
off these all but uninhabited islets. Treis is a veritable 
pigeon island, full of the most various and beautiful species of 
that bird ; nevertheless we could only procure a single speci- 
men of the exceedingly elegant Nicobar dove. Here too 
it was that the geologist found the first traces of brown coal, 
which however did not present itself in layers suitable for 
domestic use. 

The same afternoon, with the turn of the tide the current 
set in our favour, and towards 10 P. m. we reached the road- 
stead protected to the eastward by the northernmost point of 
Little Nicobar, to the westward by the island of Pulo Milu, 
and southward by the main-land of Little Nicobar itself. It 
is not very large, but it has excellent holding ground, and 
would be available at all seasons as a harbour of refuge for 
vessels. As most of the villages of Little Nicobar lie on the 
N.W. and S. sides of the island, and were with difiiculty 
accessible from our anchorage, it was thought preferable to 
select the small but beautiful island of Pulo Milii for our 
visit. Already, while we were lying at anchor in front of 
the island of Treis, a few natives had come on board the 

64 Voyage of the Novara. 

frigate, and had shown much confidence. They possessed all 
the characteristics of the residents of Nangkauri, and they 
also spoke, with but slight variations, the same idiom. Only 
for certain objects, and those, singular to say, articles of the 
very first necessity, such as cocoa-nut trees, palms, screw-pines, 
and the like, did they employ difi'crent expressions. 

The island of Pulo Milu, with its variety of forest-vegeta- 
tion, and its charming woodland-scenery, displays all the 
beauty and all the marvels of the tropics. The screw-pine 
(of the family of Pandanece)^ that peculiar tree which imparts 
to the forests of Asia a character so difi'crent from those of 
America, is seen here in exceptional size and majesty. No- 
where have we met with this marvellous tree growing in 
such luxuriance as on Pulo Milu, where it appears in such 
quantities as to resemble a forest, and leaves an impression 
of such lonely wildness as makes one almost imagine it a 
remnant of some earlier period of our earth. Wondering at 
the capricious vagaries of nature, the traveller contemplates 
these extraordinary trees, which have leaves arranged in 
spiral order like the dragon trees, trunks like those of palms, 
boughs like those trees presenting the ordinary characteristics 
of foliage, fruit-cones like the co7iiferce, and yet have nothing 
in common with all these plants, so that they form a family 
by themselves. On Pulo Milu we saw some of these trees 
with slim smooth stems 40 or 50 feet in height, which are 
nourished by and supported upon a pile of roots of 10 to 12 
feet higli, resembling a neatly-finished conical piece of wicker- 

Method of preparing the Fruit of the Screw -pine. 65 

work, composed of sjiindle-sliapcd staves. Many of these roots 
do not reach the soil, and in this undeveloped state these 
atmospheric roots assume the most peculiar shapes. Higher 
up the same formation is repeated among the branches, from 
which depend beautiful massy fruit-cones, a foot and a half 
in length, by one in thickness, which, when ripe, are of a 
splendid orange hue. 

The screw-pine is not cultivated in the Nicobar Islands ; it 
grows wild in the utmost luxuriance, and, after the cocoa-nut, 
is for the natives the most important plant that furnishes them 
with subsistence. The immense fruit-cones borne by this 
tree consist of several single wedge-shaped fruits, which 
when raw are uneatable, but boiled in water, and subjected 
to pressure, give out a sort of mealy mass, the '^ Melori" of 
the Portuguese, and called by the natives '' Larohm," which is 
also occasionally used with the fleshy interior of the ripe fruit, 
and forms the daily bread of the islanders. The flavour of the 
mass thus prepared strongly resembles that of apple-marma- 
lade, and is by no means unpalatable to Europeans. The 
woody, brush-like fibres of the fruit which remain behind, 
after the mealy contents have been squeezed out, are made 
use of by the natives as natural brooms and brushes, while 
the dried leaves of the Pandanus serve instead of paper to 
surround their cigarettes. 

At Pulo Milii, as is yet more markedly the case among 
the southernmost islands, the cocoa- palm does not grow so 
luxuriantly as on Kar-Nicobar, and to this circumstance may 


66 Voyage of the Novara. 

be chiefly ascribed the fact that the natives are not so liberal 
as at the last-named island. The Swedish naturalist, Dr. 
Rink^ who has so largely and valuably added to our stock of 
information respecting the Nicobar group, resided here for a 
considerable time with some forty Chinese labourers, and, 
with a view to ultimate colonization, had caused to be cut 
through the forest several paths, by means of which this is- 
land has been rendered much more permeable than any other 
in the Archipelago. The selection was an extremely happy 
one, and had the projected colonization of the island been 
carried into effect, very different results would have 
been obtained than tliose of poor Dr. Rosen in Nang- 
kauri Harbour. Next to Kar-Nicobar, it has been clearly 
decided that Pulo Milii is the most suitable spot for a first 
settlement, in the event of any European power or any capi- 
talist undertaking to solve the problem of colonizing this 

In the cove at which we landed five huts stand upon the 
beach, much similar to those at Nangkauri, and like them 
having before them a number of lofty singularly ornamented 
poles emerging from the water, called by the natives 
Handscluiop, and intended to keep Davy Jones at a respect- 
ful distance from the village, — not unlike the scarecrow with 
which we at home seek to frighten from the ripening corn 
the rapacious troop of feathered epicures. These banners for 
scaring away the Eewees are erected within the sea limit by 
the Manlu^na, or exorcist, who in these islands, like the 

Native Dress. — '-'■John BulV 67 

medicine man of the Red Indian of America, or the Ach-Itz 
of tlie Indian races among the highlands of Guatemala, 
exercises the utmost influence over all the affairs of life. 
Here, as elsewhere, most of the natives had disappeared on 
our approach. We found but five men, who were all at least 
partially clad ; some wore shirts, trowsers, and caps ; another 
had enveloped his person in an immense, and by no means 
over-clean, piece of linen. One of this number, who acted as 
our guide through the island, and called himself '' John 
Bull," was not a regular resident in Pulo Milu, but in Lesser- 
Nicobar, and had only come over to the island for the pur- 
pose of constructing canoes of trunks of trees hollowed out. 
He spoke English with tolerable fluency, and displayed quite 
child-like satisfaction, as often as any English word, no 
matter what, was recalled to his recollection, which had 
slipped his memory from want of practice. John Bull soon 
became very insinuating, and expressed a wish to accompany 
us to Great Nicobar, where, as he assured us, at Hinkvala, 
one of the villages on the southern shore, he had several 
relatives, among others one named '' London," who could be 
of the utmost service to us. For his kind offices we promised 
him a present, upon which he asked with the most naive 
simplicity: ''You not talk lie?" from which we may con- 
jecture that not every promise made to him by a stranger 
was duly fulfilled. The huts of the natives were constructed 
of beams, exactly like those in the central island ; and the 
internal arrangements were precisely identical. Here also 


68 Voyage of the Novara. 

are figures sculptured In wood, Eewee-charms, which espe- 
cially are found in the interiors of the houses in such numbers 
and in such quaint costumes, that one is almost tempted to 
imagine the inhabitants of these huts must be proprietors of 
some Marionette-theatre. We also found here various objects 
carved in soft wood, among others a large serpent, a tortoise, 
and several di'oll figures, as also a seven-holed flute of bam- 
boo-reed, the model for which had evidently been supplied 
by some of the Malay sailors from Pulo Penang. 

The same evening we weighed anchor, and shaped our 
course along the eastern shore of Lesser-Nicobar, which is 
thickly covered with swamp and forest. On the morning of 
19th March, we were abreast of the island of Montial in St 
George's Channel, and by evening had anchored on the 
northern side of Great Nicobar, S. E. of the island of Kondul, 
which also lies in the Channel. Already before sunrise the 
boats were lowered and everything got in readiness for a visit 
to the small but delightful island of Kondul, which, though 
on the N.W. side so lofty and rocky as to be almost inac- 
cessible, presents on its E. side a tolerably secure landing- 
place, situated according to our observations in 7° 12' 17" N. 
and 93° 39' 57" E. Here we found a number of huts, but 
not one single native was visible. We now endeavoured, by 
following up a torrent bed, to climb to the highest point of 
the island, which has an elevation of 350 to 400 feet. In this 
we only succeeded after most severe exertion, occasionally 
having to avail ourselves at the steepest parts of the ascent 

Visit to Kondul. — An Eeivee ExorciBer. 69 

of tlie gigantic roots of trees, or of the climbing plants that 
hung suspended like natui^al ropes, by means of which we 
swung oui-selves among the huge blocks of rock, till we 
could gain a secure footing. Instead, however, of finding, as 
we had hoped, a small plateau at the summit, or at all events 
discovering some less difficult path by which to descend, we 
were sorely disconcerted, on arriving thoroughly exhausted on 
the top, at finding the rock descended so sheer and precipit- 
ous on the other side that it was impossible to make one step 
fm^ther. However, we found here a delicious refreshing breeze. 
With pleasm-e indescribable, om- gaze wandered to the 
island of Great Nicobar and the islet ofCabra, lying immedi- 
ately opposite us, tlieir green luxm'iant shores bathed on all 
sides by the azure ripple of the ocean. Although no rain 
had fallen for more than six months, the vegetation was on 
the whole wonderfully fresh and abundant, the forest lovely 
and majestic as on " the first day of Creation ! " 

We found ourselves compelled to retrace our steps by the 
same break-neck path by which we had ascended the peak. 
On the shore we encountered some of the natives, whose 
curiosity had got the better of their apprehensions, and who 
now slunk out of the forest, to discover what was our peculiar 
object in landing on the island. Among their number was 
a native doctor, and Eewee exerciser; he was however in 
no way distinguishable from the rest of his brethren, unless 
by the inordinate length of his hair, which flowed down far be- 
low his shoulders. One of the members of the Commission, 

7© Voijage of the Novara. 

desirous of getting at the treatment pursued by these sly 
knaves when they go to work with their poor credulous 
dupes of patients, promised this dusky disciple of ^sculapius 
a present, if he would cure him by his own method, and 
affected to have an intolerably severe pain in the left arm. The 
Manlu^na displayed his treatment with a vengeance ; he laid 
hold of the supposed sufferer by the arm, which he pinched 
and punched, till there was not a sj)ot that had not received 
his attentions, while during the entire process he now 
screamed aloud, now whistled, now blew vigorously upon 
the bare skin, as though endeavouring to expel the Evil 
Spirit. According to the belief of these poor people, every 
bodily pain is nothing other than a demon magically intro- 
duced into the system through the evil influence of an 
Eewee. The Manluena commenced to pinch the arm from 
above, performing this anything but agreeable manipulation 
with his hands lubricated with cocoa-nut oil, from above 
downwards, the object being to drive out the Eewee from the 
arm by the finger points ! Although the doctor had not used 
his patient very tenderly, he nevertheless in the opinion of 
the natives had not appeared to put forth all his powers, and 
had made use of far fewer noises and contortions than had been 
usual with him when one of themselves was undergoing 
treatment. Moreover his original confidence seemed to fail 
him in his anxiety lest some mischance should befall him in 
case this attempt at a cure should miscarry, and accordingly 
he speedily made off, after he had been complimented with a 

Adventure of the Naturalists. 71 

few tlirecpenny bits for his trouble, nor did he again make 
his appearance the whole day. 

Some of the members of the Expedition had resolved to 
ramble quite round the island, the circumference of which is 
little if at all more than eight English miles. At early morn- 
ing they had started with their guns and botanical boxes on 
their shoulders full of the most buoyant expectation of secur- 
ing an ample store of curiosities, starting from the east 
coast and thence to the north side of the island ; and towards 
sunset they made their appearance at the south side, foot-sore 
and nearly exhausted. In the ardour of the chase and of 
collecting "specimens," they had plunged so deep into the 
forest, thereby losing all trace of the direction by which they 
had entered, that as the sun was already beginning to de- 
scend, they had no alternative but to hew a path with their 
hatchets through the thickest of the forest, so as to reach the 
beach once more. At times hanging by creepers, at others 
swimming at various spots where the rocks dipped perpen- 
dicularly into the sea, they at length arrived at the spot 
where we were re-embarking, hungry, thirsty, and in a state 
of such extreme exhaustion that we at first were really appre- 
hensive for their lives. Singularly enough these severe hard- 
ships were followed by no evil consequences to any one of the 
party, though the recollection of them will surely not fade 
out of their memory for the rest of their lives. 

The 21st March, being a Sunday, was duly observed, and was 
kept as a much-needed day of rest, no boat going to shore. To- 

72 Voyage of the No vara. 

wards noon a pretty smart shower of rain fell, the first for six 
months. Several of the natives came off in their canoes, and 
brought fowls, eggs, cocoa-nuts, and various other fruits, as 
also monkeys and parrots. Rupees, Englisli shillings and six- 
pences, were evidently not unknown to them, as they greatly 
preferred these in exchange to mere toys and' showy articles. 
On the 22nd we made an excursion to a bay on the island 
of Great Nicobar or Sambelong. All that portion of the coast 
lying opposite our anchorage was quite uninhabited, evi- 
dently in consequence of the entire absence at this point of 
the cocoa-palm, whereas on the west coast there are several 
good-sized villages. Unfortunately, however, these lay at far 
too great a distance from the frigate to permit of an excursion 
being made tliither. As our boat, after an hour's rowing, 
approached the little bay, we perceived at the mouth of a 
small creek the singular spectacle of a dead mangrove forest. 
Some great storm had apparently thrown up a sand-drive 
here, so as to cut off the supply of sea-water even at full tide. 
As tlie mangrove only flourishes in salt or brackish water, it 
liad thus been deprived of its vital elemeut, and the trees had 
accordingly perished in the fresh water. But the lofty stems 
still stood, withered and blighted, a ghastly garden of death 
amidst delicious green peaks covered with forest. As the sun 
rose, a white vapour lay like a winding-sheet over the dead 
swamp : one felt the uncomfortable sensation of being in a 
place where miasmata were poisoning the air, while the soil 
was generating death. The rigid skeletons of these trees recall 

A dead Mangrove Forest. — State of Trade. 73 

to the recollection of tlic stranger, who stands marvelling at 
the all-powerful energies of Nature to create and destroy in 
these regions, how many corpses of his fellow-Europeans are 
mouldering beneath the damp soil of tliis island ! Fortun- 
ately the river has once more broken through the bar, and 
given access to the sea-water, so that beneath the dead forest 
a fresh green vegetation was fast springing up. 

The crew of a Malay prahu from Penang had selected this 
dull spot for a regular settlement, in order to collect ripe 
cocoa-nuts, and Trepang, the edible sea-slug [Holothuria) 
already mentioned, the latter for the Chinese market. These 
people occupied a large wooden shed, and were provisioned for 
a somewhat long stay. Except this shed there was not one 
single hut here, all around being nothing but dense forest 
and swamp ; but some natives of the island of Kondul came 
over in their canoes to trade hens and eggs with us. The 
Malay vessels which visit these islands almost all come hither 
from Penang, about the beginning of tlie N.E. monsoon, and 
remain during the whole of the dry season, so as to take in 
a full cargo of the various natural produce of the island. 
They bring for barter fine Chinese tobacco, calico, knives, 
axes, hatchets, cutlasses, clothes, and black round hats. In 
former years they also imported the betel shrub into Great 
Nicobar for propagation ; where, in fact, it has been planted, 
and has since then increased to such an extent that its im- 
portation is no longer remunerative. With the commence- 
ment of the S.W. monsoons and the rainy season, the Malay 

"74 Voyage of the Novara. 

traders with their profitable cargoes make their way back to 
Penang, and the other places along the coast of the peninsula 
of Malacca. Thanks to the presence of these people, the 
members of the Expedition were enabled to compare the 
Nicobar idiom with that of the Malays, and could thus ascer- 
tain the exceeding discrepancies between these two languages.* 
These merchants ordinarily bring with them a few individuals 
who have a slight knowledge of the Nicobar language, as 'the 
Malay tongue is not understood anywhere in this archipelago. 

One of the Malay seamen, named Tschingl, from Penang, 
whose caste was indicated by ih.Q long stripes of a bluish green 
colour painted upon his dark brown forehead, peculiar to the 
Hindu god Siva, told us that he recollected being employ- 
ed as a boy In the service of Pastor Rosen on the island of 
Kamorta, with whom he remained till his return to Europe. 
He spoke with much admiration of that estimable and 
thoroughly deserving gentleman, and remarked that many 
Chinese and other settlers had accompanied him to Kamorta, 
all of whom speedily succumbed to the fever. 

The native known as John Bull, who had followed us 
hither from Pulo Milu, made his appearance at the bay, ac- 
companied by some of his kindred, and brought us some 
provisions. He seemed firmly to believe that in the Interior 
of the island of Sambelong, in its southern part, there existed 
some wild Inhabitants of a different race, Baju-oal-Tschua 
(or jimglemen, as he called them), who lived entirely In the 

* See Appendix. 

Native Villages. — Boat Accident. 75 

woods, In small huts erected upon the banks of the streams, 
and were so timid that they took to flight so soon as any one 
endeavoured to approach them. He also told us that in the 
S. and S. W. sides of Sambelong there were eleven villages : 
viz. Hinkoata, Changanhei, Hinhaha, Haengangloeh, Kanalla, 
Taeingha, Dayak, Kanchingtong, Dagoak, Hinlawua, and 

In the course of the day, not onl}^ was a highly successful 
onslaught made on the denizens of the woodland, but even 
the fishes in bay were not exempted from our attentions ; — 
a net, which was flung over the side and retained there barely 
half an hour, being hauled ashore with upwards of a hundred 
weight of small fish. Of this the entire ship's company par- 
took, and sufficient was left over for the next day. Our quarry 
in the swamps and forest consisted of snipes, of a splendidly 
plumed Maina bird {^Gr acuta Indica), eagles, and apes; un- 
fortunately a number of the animals shot were lost by their 
retreating into the thicket, where they could not be recovered. 

On the morning of the 23rd of March the frigate again 
made sail and steered along the west coast of Great Nicobar, 
while two boats' crews were despatched with the requisite 
instruments to examine this quite unexplored coast. This 
plan, however, proved only half successful. The tremendous 
surf, into which the long swell setting in fi'om the S.W. 
is broken hereabouts, hurled the larger boat upon the beach 
with such violence that it was capsized, by which a great por- 
tion of her fireight was utterly lost, and her crew could only 

76 Voyage of the Novara. 

escape to sliore by swimming. The smaller, or jolly-boat, 
returned to the ship with two of her crew to fetch assistance 
for these woe-begone wights. One of the latter, who coolly 
spoke of the accident as a ^'"piccola disgrazietta^''''* with the same 
breath informed us that almost all the instruments, note-books, 
and implements of the chase which had been taken on board, 
were irretrievably gone. Another quarter-boat was despatched 
to bring off our shipwrecked companions, who meanwhile re- 
mained on the shore in anything but enviable plight, soaked 
to the skin, hungry and thirsty, and busily employed in 
fishing u]3 some few of the articles that had been overturned 
into the water. At last both boats got safely back in com- 
pany about midnight, but under such circumstances that it 
was out of the question to think of prosecuting the examina- 
tion that had been commenced. We now lay a course for 
the southern bay of Great Nicobar, where, shortly after 9 p.m. of 
the 24th March, we cast anchor near the little stream called 
'' Galatea" by the Danish expedition. The midshipman in- 
trusted with the commission of selecting the most suitable spot 
to disembark, returned after several hours' absence, with the 
little consolatory intelligence, that along the entire reach of 
coast which he had examined, there was but one solitary spot 
at which it was possible to land without danger from a boat 
of European construction. In the course of the day we re- 
ceived numbers of natives on board ; among the rest, one man 

* Most of the Austrian sailors are from the Adriatic coast, and accordingly speak 
an Italian patois. 

Last visit to Nicohar. — Desolate Scene. 77 

still young, with immense spectacles, which undoubtedly were 
worn much more for personal adornment than for use. They 
brought off for sale a few apes, parrots, hens, swine, cocoa-nuts, 
as also some rosin, tortoise-shell, amber, and a few large eggs of 
a species of wood-pigeon, called by the natives Mek(^ni, of 
which unfortunately we did not succeed in seeing a single 
specimen, despite our utmost exertions. 

The following morning, 26th March, amid occasional pre- 
monitory symptoms of the approach of the rainy season, the 
naturalists and some officers endeavoured to effect a landing 
at a place where alone it seemed possible for the broad, clumsy 
boats of our western waters. In this we succeeded. Again we 
were able, although drenched to the skin, to set foot on Ni- 
cobar soil. It was for the last time we did so. Not a single 
vestige could be discerned along the beach of any human habit- 
ations : — all was thick tropical forest, fringed with enormous 
Barringtonice Gigantew, which in all their primeval weirdness 
flung their branches over the water, interlaced in wild con- 
fusion. After half an hour's wandering along the hot beach, 
we came unexpectedly, at a point somewhat soutli of our 
point of disembarkation, upon a couple of wi'etched discon- 
solate-looking huts. Not a human being was visible, — only 
a pair of hens and a pig, which were parading about un- 
tended ; the bamboo poles, which usually figure in front of 
the native huts, had been carried away. However, in their 
absence it did not cost us much trouble to penetrate into the 
interior. A few weapons of war or the chase, a number of 

78 Voyage of the Novara. 

liollowed-out perfumed cocoa-nut shells suspended above the 
fire-place, a pair of elegantly-plaited baskets, a boat's sail 
made of pandanus leaves, some straw mats, and a couple 
of marvellously finished figures, formed the very miscellaneous 
inventory of this Nicobar household. The figures (cut in 
wood) and a very neatly-executed basket attracted to them- 
selves our special attention as interesting specimens of the 
industry and taste of the natives of Nicobar. We could not 
resist possessing ourselves of these, at the same time leaving 
in recompense a quantity of shining six-penny pieces, fully 
twenty times the utmost possible value of what had been taken 
away, depositing them in one of the baskets which was sus- 
pended in a conspicuous position in the middle of the hut. 

Adjoining this hamlet was a forest of cocoa-palms. We 
penetrated into it, and suddenly found ourselves, to our great 
astonishment, on the track of a well-worn foot-path, which 
was probably, with the exception of the paths in Great 
Nicobar and Pulo Milii, in better condition than any other 
we had hitherto encountered in the Nicobar Islands. What 
more natural than to suppose that a patli so well worn must 
necessarily lead to an important settlement ? It passed first 
through an extensive and splendid palm-plantation, and after- 
wards through a very beautiful clump of leafy trees, fringing 
a little brook, whose channel, it being then the end of the 
dry season, was quite dried up. Frequently we were obliged 
to clamljer over steep blocks of rock, with footsteps hewn in 
them by the hand of man, for facilitating the passage, and at 

Native Hospitalit/j. — Recapitidation. 79 

last, after a scramble of several hours, highly interesting, but 
exceedingly fatiguing, we reached a cleared spot on the sea- 
beach, but without being able to discern tlie remotest trace 
of any human habitations. On the contrary, it seemed to 
admit of no doubt tliat this path, as also some spots that had 
been cleared, were nothing but the preparations for an in- 
tended settlement, which can only be successfully carried out 
here where the cocoa-palm and screw-pine have first struck 
root. Some of the sailors, who accompanied us as porters 
and escort, went forward as far as the extreme point of the 
bay, but there also they found no trace of any human abode. 
After a brief rest we returned by the same track, to the spot 
at which we had disembarked, where we were joined by some 
of the officers, who, more fortunate than ourselves, had en- 
countered some of the natives, and had even seen them in 
their dwellings. They spoke of the interiors of the huts they 
visited as being quite as wretched as those on the other is- 
lands, only the inhabitants did not seem so shy or timorous. 
Far from this, they had regaled our lucky companions with 
palm-wine, and had accompanied them till they fell in with 
us. With this visit ended the thirty-second day of our stay 
in the Nicobar Archipelago, only one half of that period hav- 
ing been spent on land, the rest having been occupied in 
beating about against unfavourable winds. 

Before, however, we take our departure from this most 
interesting group of islands, en route for the Sunda Islands 
and China, we shall be excused for briefly recapitulating tlie 

8o Voyage of the Novara. 

main results of our observations and investigations, wliile 
referring- the reader for a more detailed specification of our 
labours to the various special divisions yet to appear. 

The Nicobar Islands, situated right in the most important 
highway of commerce, which is destined to acquire yet 
greater importance, so soon as tlie projected opening of the 
Suez Canal has been carried out, and extending in their 
general direction from S.S.E. to N.N.W., seem like an ex- 
tension of the main central mountain-chain of Sumatra, 
which is prolonged yet further to the northward through the 
Andaman group, and in its crescent-shaped arrangement, with 
the convexity towards the westward, corresponds with Cape 
Negrais in the peninsula of Malacca. If from this Archipel- 
ago, as a centre, a circle be described of about 1200 nautical 
miles of radius, it will include the most important commercial 
cities of India, as well as Ceylon, the majority of the Sunda 
Islands, and Cochin China. The winds usually prevalent 
here greatly facilitate the passage of vessels from the adjoin- 
ing islands and coasts of terra firma, and proportionately 
enhance the importance of this Archipelago. 

With but few exceptions, the shores of the whole group of 
islands consist of coral sand, or are fringed with coral banks, 
which latter extend seaward to a depth of thirty fathoms. 
In like manner almost all the bays seem to be edged with 
coral reefs, if indeed they are not actually studded with them. 
The promontories frequently present cliffs both above and 
below the level of the ocean, extending a couple of miles into 

Lunar Tides among the Nicohar Islands. 8i 

tliG sea, which, what with the occasianal rapid currents and 
light breezes, are not always very easily weathered. Tlie 
prevailing winds are tlie two monsoons, the N.E. in the 
months of November, December, January, February, and 
March, the S.W. in May, June, July, August, and Septem- 
ber. During the months of April and October, there are vari- 
able winds and calms, extending more or less into the adjoin- 
ing months. The currents vary in direction with the passages 
between the islands, and depend upon the ebb and flow of the 
tide, varying in force and direction with the tidal phenomena. 
Ordinarily these make themselves felt during the making of 
the tide from S.W. to N.E., and in a contrary direction 
during the ebb. 

Due south of Kar-Nicobar, we found while lying at anchor 
a current running 3J miles an hour, two days after the full 
moon ; north of Little Nicobar, near the small island of 
Treis, where the current compelled us to anchor, its velocity, 
as we experienced two days after new moon, is as high as 4^ 
miles an hour. These observations refer to a period when 
the velocity of the current was at its maximum. In light 
winds, and when near the coast, one must always let go the 
anchor, or at least lay out a kedge, the latter however being 
barely sufficient at several spots immediately after the full or 
the new moon. According- to observations made durins: five 
days about the period of full moon, the course of tide at Kar- 
Nicobar may be assumed at 9li. 40m., and the difference in 
height between ebb and flood at five feet. 


82 Voyage of the Novara. 

In these waters, and in a still more marked degree in the 
latitude of Sumatra, occurs a belt within which the wave- 
currents form what is known to English navigators as '' The 
Ripples." The sea here is ranged zone-fashion, so to speak, 
as though in fact in a state of ebullition, and makes a con- 
siderable noise, yet without there being anything to indicate 
an increased strength of current ; since, on the contrary, we 
found when reaching these tracts, that the velocity of current 
was if anything rather diminished. We conceive this phe- 
nomenon may be attributed to the agitation caused by partial 
tidal currents, crossing each others' course, and occasionally 
even running counter to each other, as also to certain special 
conditions of ocean temperature at varying depths. The 
changes of the tides at points of the coast, proportionally 
speaking so near each other, are so widely different in point 
of time, and the height reached by the waves is so little 
uniform, that any such phenomenon as the above must natur- 
ally make itself perceptible at the surface in the open sea. 

While the change of tide at Kar-Nicobar takes place every 
9h. 40m., that of Cape Diamond in Sumatra is laid down 
in the English chart at 12h., and on the sandbanks in the 
Straits of Malacca at only 51i. 30m. The difference in 
elevation assigned exhibits a similar discrepancy in the esti- 
mates ; that for Kar-Nicobar being stated at five feet, that for 
Cape Diamond at 10 foet, and on the sandbanks already 
mentioned at 15 feet. The hurricanes of the Bay of Bengal 
never visit the Nicobars ; they seem to originate part in or 

Roadstead of Saoui in Kar-Nicohar. 83 

about the Andaman Islands, part from tlie west coast of 
Sumatra, proceeding in the former case towards the northern 
portions of the gulf, and in the latter towards the Coromandel 
coast and Ceylon. 

During the S.W. monsoon, in which occurs the rainy 
season, frequent tlmnder-storms and even gales of mnd 
occur, especially in the vicinity of Great Nicobar. The dry 
N.E. monsoon again brings fine weather, but sometimes 
blows with considerable strength. 

Kar- Nicobar has no regular harbour, but presents on its 
north side a spacious land-locked bay nearly rectangular, the 
holding ground of which is a coral sand of from 10 to 16 
fathoms, and is thoroughly sheltered to the S.W. and N.E. 
During the N.E. monsoon it is advisable to lie somewhat closer 
in with the northern promontory of the island. At this season 
it is difficult to find any spot at which small boats can disem- 
bark. However, near the northern point it is possible to 
reach the shore in a small cove, the western boundary of 
which presents an open space of coral sand, where it is 
possible to lie to in deep water with even a good-sized boat. 
The village of Sdoui, which gives its name to the roadstead, 
is not readily accessible during the N.E. monsoon in conse- 
quence of the surf, but the very next indentation of the coast 
facing eastwards, which is protected seaward by a coral-reef, 
offers a well-sheltered point of disembarkation, where the 
boats can be beached on the smooth coral sand, and there- 
after drawn up high and dry. 


84 Voyage of the Novara. 

During the N.E. monsoon it is also practicable to avail 
oneself of the bay on the S. side of Kar-Nicobar, or to anchor 
anywhere along the W. side of the island, but such anchor- 
ages possess no other protection than is afforded by long 
points of land projecting far into the ocean, and usually 
protracted by coral-reefs. 

Both in the bay of Saoui, and on the south side of Kar-Ni- 
cobar, are found small brooks, which run with water even 
during the dry season. It is difficult however to water here- 
abouts, because these rivulets are blocked up with sand-bars, 
not to speak of the obstacles interposed to the landing of 
boats, by the tremendous surf and the low swampy shore at 
most periods of the year. In cases of extreme necessity, 
however, the little rivulet called the Areca might with some 
difficulty be made available. 

Chowra, Kamorta, and Bampoka, have no regular anchor- 
ages ; a vessel must be content to ride to leeward of that coast, 
which will act as a shelter against whichever monsoon hap- 
pens to be blowing. Disembarkation by means of boats is 
extremely difficult, and it is much better to make use of a 
native canoe, which, after transporting the visitor through the 
surf to the land, can be more easily drawn up on the beach. 

Tillangschong possesses a beautiful harbour on the S. side, _ 
which however is open to the S.E., but during the greater 
part of the year affords an excellent anchorage. The most 
southerly point has numerous cliffs and needles of rock 
where it projects into the sea, but it is possible to approach 

Description of Nangkaurl Harbour. 85 

witliin a few fathoms of the southernmost of these with vessels 
of any size. 

On tlie west side of the island, ^at the spot where its two 
halves may be said to blend, the northernmost rugged, the 
more southerly flat, a pretty good anchorage will be found, 
which seems to be sheltered towards the S.W. by several 
solitary projecting rocks. Generally speaking, but more 
especially to the N. and E., this island presents a steep pre- 
cipitous shore, so that, with the exception here and there of a 
few solitary rocks, close in to the shore, there is nothing but 
clear deep water around almost the entire island to within 
about 10 fathoms of the land. 

The harbour of Nangkauri is rather roomy, but of very 
unequal though for the most part considerable depth; the 
soundings in its midst giving between 20 and 30 fathoms. 
The promontories are all more or less low-lying, and thickly 
beset with coral-reefs, and caution is the more necessary, 
since it is far from unusual after working in from 20 to 16 
fathoms, to find the water shoal suddenly to foui' or even 
three fathoms. The anchorage formed by the two islands 
of Kamorta and Nangkauri has two entrances, from the east 
and from the west, the navigation of which by large ships de- 
mands the utmost vigilance. The western entrance is barely 
a cable's length in width, while the island of Nangkam-i has 
hardly any fair-way for vessels along its exterior coast-line. 
In consequence of the two islands trending towards each 
other at that point, the harbour near its middle is greatly 

86 Voyage of the No vara. 

narrowed, so that there may ahiiost be said to be two har- 
bours. In either of them a vessel is quite safe, being in fact 
so thoroughly sheltered from all winds that the heat is oc- 
casionally overpowering. 

On the west side of Kamorta, six or seven miles north of 
the western entrance of the harbour, will be found a large 
sheet of water, called Ulkla Bay, in the first half of which 
there is excellent anchorage ; but the vapours emanating from 
the abundant mangrove swamps render residence here ex- 
tremely unhealthy. As Ulala Cove runs for the most part 
parallel with Nangkauri Harbour, and is separated from the 
latter only by a range of low eminences, the near proximity 
of these mangrove swamps likewise imparts their baleful in- 
fluence to the air of Nangkauri Harbour. There is absolutely 
no water here fit for drinking. 

Katchal has large bays on both its west and its east sides, 
but they are almost entirely silted up with coral sand. The 
channel between Katchal and Kamorta is clear. Here we 
made short tacks in passing through, approaching the shores 
on either side within half a mile. 

Little Nicobar has a good harbour on the north side, formed 
by the island of Pulo Milu and the N. coast of Little Nicobar, 
which is bent almost at a right angle. This anchorage is 
accessible in all winds, and is well sheltered, but a consider- 
able portion adjoining the shore of Little Nicobar is rendered 
useless by banks of coral. 

Notwithstanding the most careful examination of this part 

Bad Water Ing-'places. — Kondul Roads. 87 

of tlic coast, we could not discover the spot, which in the 
Danish charts is marked as furnishing water fit for drinking, 
but perceived nothing save mangrove swamps, with numerous 
water-courses filled witli brackish water, the two largest of 
which we navigated in our gondola as far as was practicable. 

The island of Kondul in St. George's Channel forms another 
very fair anchorage ; and similarly on the N. side of Great 
Nicobar, one finds several suitable bays, the most easterly of 
wliich, called Ganges Harbour, is fringed with coral banks, 
rendering it proportionately difficult of access. The an- 
chorage of Kondul may be selected for one reason, namely, 
that it is land-locked towards both N.E. and S.W., besides 
having the additional advantage of being airy, and distant 
from the mangrove swamps, whereas in the bays on the N. 
coast of Great Nicobar these are of immense extent. One of 
these mangrove swamps in the central cove was traversed by 
one of the naturalists, the result of which was that he found 
a river debouching into the sea through the very heart of the 
swamp, which, however, so long as the sea- water could find 
entrance, was not of course drinkable. 

On the west side of Great Nicobar, along the whole length 
of which we sailed, but which we could not visit more carefully, 
owing to want of time and the heavy S.W. swell of the ocean, 
several other promontories and coves are apparently available 
as harbours, and moreover may be supposed to be the em- 
bouchm'es of rivers. At the south point of Great Nicobar 
there is a large bay, which however being quite exposed from 

88 Voyage of the Noumea. 

S.W. to S.E. must be anytliiug but a safe anchorage during the 
S.W. monsoon. During the prevalence of the N.E. monsoon 
it seems tolerably well suited for an anchorage, if the eastern 
promontory be kept S.E. by S., and the anchor be cast in 
soundings of from 10 to 13 fathoms. Landing, however, is 
at all times a matter of difficulty, as the surf is very boister- 
ous and the swell of the sea pretty heavy. Its most remote 
point is the mouth of the river Galatea, which, however, is 
closed by a sand-bar, and for that reason cannot be easily 
reached. This bay, owing to its configuration, is excessively 
hot and sweltering, and with reference to its salubrity can- 
not be recommended as a suitable abode. 

The climate of the Archipelago, though tropical, is not 
nevertheless to be ranked among the hottest, in consequence 
of its insular position, and of the whole of the islands being 
thickly clothed with forest. Hence the quantity of rain, 
which, as has been seen, is sufficient to keep the rivers full 
even in the dry season. According to the meteorological 
observations made on these islands by various observers at 
different periods of the year, the average temperature does 
not exceed 77'^ Fahr., much about the temperatm^e of the 
fluid found in the fresh unripe cocoa-nut. But during the 
months of April and October respectively, at which period 
calms prevail in these islands, the maximum temperature of 
86-^ to SS*^ Fahr. is reached. 

Considering the violence with which rain falls, and that the 
dry season of the N.E. monsoon from November to March, 

Heavy Rain falls during the S. W. Monsoon. 89 

and the damp season of the S. W. monsoon from April to 
October, are by no means so sharply defined on these islands 
as on the adjoining coasts of the mainland, the quantity of 
annual rainfall must be enormous. At certain times it is not 
much less than 100 or even 150 inches, and yet it probably 
is not so high as that presented by other localities, which ex- 
perience the regular changes of the monsoons, as for instance, 
in the Straits of Malacca, where the annual rainfall is 208 
inches, or Mahableshwur south of Bombay, where it amounts 
to no less than 254 inches ! March is the dryest month in the 
year. During the whole of the month, which Ave spent on 
the islands or in their immediate vicinity, we only had three 
sharp thunder-storms. These become more frequent and 
severe during April, until about May or June the S.W. mon- 
soon sets in and envelopes the islands in rain-clouds. Where 
some special physical configuration of the soil does not admit 
of the rapid carrying off of the redundant deluge of rain, 
the island must necessarily be unusually well off for water. 
Of the correctness of this theory we were enabled thoroughly 
to satisfy ourselves, since the close of the dry season is neces- 
sarily unfavourable to there being any water remaining in the 
streams and brooks ; notwithstanding which even the smallest 
of the islands, Pulo Milu and Kondul, although their rivulets 
had ceased to flow, possessed a sufficient supply of sweet 
drinkable water among the numerous basin-shaped pools that 
occur in the beds of the various streams. From the forest- 
covered sloj^es of Tillangschong also, small streams of fi'esh 

90 Voyage of the Novara. 

water are continually trickling. The insignificant brooks 
and rivers of the large well- wooded islands lying further to 
the south of Great and Little Nicobar, are in like manner kept 
full the whole year by the blessed abundance of the watery 
element. On the other hand, the northern islands, so far at 
least as the marl formation extends, seem to be but scantily 
supplied with water, especially on Kamorta, Nangkauri, 
Tringkut, and apparently Teressa and Bampoka as well. All 
the small streams on the two first- named islands, which fall 
into the Nangkauri harbour, were found to be very nearly 
dried up. 

The principal beverage of the natives of these islands 
is the fluid contents of the unripe cocoa-nut, while it should 
seem that they fetch the water required for house purposes 
from the pools of sweet water, which they find scattered here 
and there among the river-courses. Springs we saw none, 
with the exception of the old ruined one of the Moravian 
Brethren near the village of Malacca on the island of Nang- 
kauri. Kar-Nicobar, although likewise belonging to the same 
marl-formation as the before-mentioned islands, has never- 
theless no lack of drinkable water, since the expanse of land 
raised from eight to twelve feet above the level of the ocean 
constitutes the site of those singular springs, the sweet water 
in which rises and falls with the ebb and flow of the tide. 
The explanation of this singular phenomenon must not be 
sought for in the filtration of the sea- water by the coral rock, 
but is simply due to the rain-water, being the lighter, float- 

Absence of Mmcval Springs. — Monsoon Fever. 91 

ing upon the sui'face of the sea- water, which is heavier, while 
the porous coral rock prevents the complete intermixture 
of the salt and fresh water. In the villages of Moose and 
Saoui on Kar-Nicobar we saw several such cisterns, which 
always had eight or ten feet good fresh water. Of rivers, 
properly so called, we found but two, one falling into the 
northern Bay of Kar-Nicobar, the other at the southern point 
of Great Nicobar. The former, which from the luxuriant 
growth of the cabbage tree along its banks we named 
" Ai'eca-river," is navigable for flat-boats for about two miles 
from its mouth, at which point further progress is arrested by 
some small rapids. Here the water is quite sweet, holding 
but a very little chalk in solution. 

We found no mineral waters or warm springs. The 
hardened marl deposits of Nangkauri harbour we perceived 
however to be encased in a crust an inch thick of sulphate of 
magnesia, and fine silk-like glistening fibres ; this results from 
the clay-marl containing sulphate of magnesia, so that very 
possibly by digging cistern-shaped cavities, a bitter saline 
solution might be obtained similar to that at present ob- 
tained under similar circumstances at Billin in Bohemia. 

In consequence of the extraordinarily rich vegetation, the 
dampness of the soil, and the numerous mangrove swamps all 
along the coast, the climate, as may readily be conceived, is 
at present anything but salubrious. Dm'ing the changes of 
the monsoons especially, a fever breaks out of so malignant 
a type that it is very frequently fatal to Europeans. 

92 Voyage of the Novara. 

But, so long as dense forest, creeping plants, and swamps 
encumber the soil, there can be no country within the tropics 
favourable to the health of man, and all immigrants or other 
persons who make a sufficiently long stay in such localities, 
prepare themselves for being visited by maladies of the most 
formidable nature, among which fever and dysentery play 
the most conspicuous part. 

Similar conditions are occasionally met with in certain 
parts of Europe where swamp and uncultivated land are 
exposed to the influences of a high tem^^erature, of which ex- 
amples enough are furnished in the malaria of Italy, and the 
marsh fever of the lagoons of Venice and along the coasts 
of Istria. And if such visitations make less im]3ression upon 
us in Europe, it is not that there is little danger, but simply 
because, as habit is second nature, the regularity of their 
return has ceased to attract attention. 

This is precisely what the English have experienced in 
the East Indies, it is what the German emigrant is now 
going through on the banks of the Mississippi and Ohio, in 
Brazil and in Peru, until the forests are cleared and rendered 
productive, until, in short, advancing cultivation has dis- 
pelled those miasmata, which are inevitably developed amid 
the undisturbed voluptuousness of nature. 

Wlien at certain seasons of the year the vital principles of 
millions upon millions of organisms begin to be active, they 
throw off oxygen into the atmosphere, rej)lacing it by ab- 
sorbing carbonic acid; while, on the other hand, different 

How to reclaim the Nicohars. 93 

organisms, In conformity wdtli known chemical laws, are de- 
stroyed under similar conditions, and, under the influence of 
the atmosphere co-operating with humidity, ferment and 
become decomposed. From all which processes result pro- 
ducts of emanation, which, caught up into the atmosphere and 
whirled away by the wind, become in their turn the means 
of nutriment and fertilization to other plants, thus imparting 
to tropical vegetation that marvellous rankness and super- 
abundance so fatal to the human frame. But the conditions 
wliicli produce this tendency in the atmosphere to generate 
fever are not peculiar to certain localities, or strictly con- 
fined to these; they can be averted, and with them the 
vapours so prejudicial to health may be removed. We have 
but to raise up a barrier against that mighty all-devouring 
process of life and vegetation, which imperils our o^ai con- 
ditions of existence, we have but to withdi'aw from the power- 
ful agencies of chemical action the substances undergoing 
decomposition, to constrain the waters of heaven to follow 
certain definite directions, to drain every swamp, to clear the 
forest, to sweep away the dense underwood in order that the 
wind may wander unchecked over the now fertilized soil, 
and a wondrous alteration will take place in the climatic con- 
ditions of the Nicobar Islands. Of what mav be achieved 
under such circumstances by energy and perseverance, the 
island of Penang, some 350 nautical miles distant, fm-nishes 
the most striking example, which within a very few decades 
has, by dint of the progressive clearing and cultivation of the 

94 Voyage of the Novara. 

soil, been converted from a den of fever and malaria, a spot 
shunned by all men as a residence, into one of the most 
healthy localities in the East, so much so indeed that it has 
been made a resort for invalids ! 

Seduced by the attractive beauty of the harbour of Nang- 
kauri, the various attempts at founding a settlement have 
almost without exception been confined to that site. Upon 
a more close examination however of the precise spot selected 
for these settlements, it becomes at once apparent that they 
were for the most part pitched upon the neck of land which 
divides the land-locked ill-ventilated harbour of Nangkauri 
from the Bay of Ulkla, surrounded as it is on all sides by 
thick mangrove swamps. 

On such a site did the settlers erect their huts, and there, 
often at but a short interval after their arrival, did they find 
their grave ; and if a very few of their number resisted the 
deadly influence of the miasmatic vapours, if even they were 
able for several years to drag along a miserable existence in 
such a scene, these can only be regarded as striking examples 
of an unusual vigour of constitution. It is true that most of 
these missionaries who founded settlements here were by no 
means properly housed and fed, which in such a climate is a 
matter of absolute prime necessity for the preservation of 
health. Often when already attacked with fever they toiled, 
spade in hand, delving the ground amid the exhausting heat 
of a tropical day in order to secure the means of subsistence, 
or gathered shell-fish along the beach, or hunted for reptiles or 

Narrative of a Moravian Missionary. 95 

birds through tlie swamps and forest, in order to provide 
themselves, by tlie sale of these natural curiosities in Europe, 
witli the means of existence in those distant regions. Not 
without feelings of the keenest emotion and deepest sympathy 
is it possible to peruse the description given by one of these 
missionaries, Father Hansel, of his mode of life on the 
island of Nangkauri, where he lived for seven years amidst the 
greatest privations and hardships. "On my frequent excur- 
sions along the sea-coast," says the noble, high-souled 
missionary, '' it sometimes happened that I was benighted, 
and I could not with convenience return to our dwelling: ; 
but I was never at. a loss for a bed. The greater part of the 
beach consists of a remarkably fine white sand, which above 
high-water mark is perfectly clean and dry. Into this I dug 
with ease a hole large enough to contain my body, forming a 
mound as a pillow for my head ; I then lay down, and by 
collecting the sand over me buried myself in it u^:) to the neck. 
My faithful dog always laid across my body, ready to give 
the alarm in case of disturbance from any quarter. How- 
ever, I was under no apprehensions from wild animals ; 
crocodiles and caimans never haunt the open coast, but keep 
in creeks and lagoons ; and there are no other ravenous beasts 
on the island. The only annoyance I suffered, was from 
the nocturnal perambulations of an immense variety of crabs 
of all sizes, the crackling noise of whose armour would some- 
times keep me awake. But they were well watched by my 
dog, and if any one ventured to approach too near, he was sure 

g6 Voyage of the Novara. 

to be suddenly seized and thrown to a more respectful dis- 
tance. Or if a crab of a more tremendous appearance would 
deter my dog from exposing his nose to its claws, he would 
bark and frighten it away, by which however I was some- 
times more seriously alarmed than the occasion required. 
Many a comfortable night's rest have I had in these 
sepulchral dormitories when the nights were clear and dry, 
and the heavens spangled with stars."* 

After such a description, one cannot but feel astonished 
that any of these men, jealous for the faith, should have been 
able to linger on for years in such a plight, and assuredly no 
one will refuse to these heroes of Christianity their meed of 
the deepest admiration and gratitude, which they merit none 
the less that their labours among these natives were almost 
entirely unattended by any permanent good results. 

It seems specially worthy of remark that the crew of the 
Austrian ship Joseph and Theresa^ which spent as much as 
five months here, and that too during the rainy season (April 
to September), almost entirely escaped fever. This fact 
sufficiently proves that the rainy season is by no means the 
most unhealthy, but that the periods of transition from the 
dry to the wet season, and vice versli^ must be considered as 

* "Letters on the Nicobar Islands, etc. Addressed by the Rev. I. Gottfried 
Hansel, the only surviving missionary, to the Rev. C. J. Latrobe. London, 1812." 
We are indebted for these rare pamphlets to the kindness of Dr. Rosen of the com- 
munity of the Moravian Brethren at Genaadendal in South Africa, and do not think, 
despite its deep interest in the history of missions, that it has ever been translated 
into another language. Brown in his " History of Missions " has made a few brief 
extracts from it. 

Periodicity of insalubrious Conditions. 97 

invariably prejudicial. At these times light variable winds 
alternate with thunder-showers, after which there is usually 
experienced great heat by solar radiation, which at once 
liberates the noxious emanations of the humid soil. Further 
on, during the actual rain}^ season, when the heavens are 
almost continually veiled, and the <}ondition of the atmo- 
sphere and the soil is alike one of comj^lete saturation, this 
phenomenon appears much less marked, and becomes in a 
corresponding degree less dangerous to human organization. 

We are also of opinion that the time from the end of March 
to the end of April, as also the months of September and 
October, are the most insalubrious parts of the year, although 
on the Nicobars a man may be struck down with fever at any 
season, so soon as those precautions have been neglected, 
which are so necessary to observe in the uncultivated regions 
of the tropics. An instance on this point is furnished in the 
case of the crew of the Danish corvette Galatea. Of thirty 
individuals engaged in an exploring expedition up what is 
known as the Galatea river, in the southern Bay of Great 
Nicobar, and caught one night in a thunder-storm, which 
compelled them to remain in the forest wringing wet, no 
fewer than twent3^-one fell ill of fever, which ultimately 
proved fatal in four cases. 

So far as our own experience goes, the state of health on 
board the frigate during a stay of thirt3^-two days was highly 
satisfactory. During that entire period, out of 350 men only 
six took ill with fever, which number, however, at a later 


98 Voyage of the Novara. 

period during our passage to the straits of Malacca, was in- 
creased to 21. Singular to say, those of the ship's company, 
who during our stay had never set foot on the Nicobar Islands, 
furnished the largest contingent of cases of fever, while of 
both officers and naturalists, who spent the whole day together 
among the swamps and the forest, and were exposed to all 
manner of fatigue, only three got upon the sick list. On the 
whole, however, even the few severer cases made an excellent 
recovery, and by the time we had anchored in the harbour of 
Singapore, all the fever patients were once more either quite 
well, or in a fair way towards convalescence. 

As the examination of this Archipelago was, in consequence 
of the all but impenetrable forests, confined to the narrow 
strip of land along the shore, we had almost said to the 
region of cocoa-palms exclusively, its various geognostic fea- 
tures were very inadequately, yet withal approximately, ascer- 
tained. If we admit that a covering of vegetation of the ut- 
most variety and primeval luxuriance, untouched by the hand 
of man, and entirely unreclaimed by cultivation, may be con- 
sidered as the expressive feature by which an estimate could 
be arrived at of the different geognostic conditions of soil be- 
neath, we may succeed in our attempt from the characteristics 
of this primeval vegetation, to come to some definite conclu- 
sion as to the quality and the greater or lesser productiveness 
of the ground. According to this method of computing, it 
would seem that, 

I. The forest, in the ordinar}^ acceptation of the term, in- 

Estimate of Soil available for Cultivation. 99 

eludes ToF of the entire surface of the island: — the soil being 
limestone, rich in alkalies, spungy, with clay-sand, and ex- 
ceedingly fertile. 

II. On the other hand, the grass vegetation proper may be 
set down at to^ of the surface : a barren, clay soil. 

III. The cocoa forest may be estimated at jio of the entire 
area ; upon a fruitful soil of coral conglomerate, coral sand^ 
and dried alluvium. 

IV. In like manner the screw-pine forests cover tw of 
the entire insular surface, the soil marshy but well suited 
for cultivation, with fresh-water bogs, and moist fresh-water 

V. Lastly, the mangrove forest in like manner may be 
roughly estimated at yto- of the superficial area, and is a 
swampy soil, unfitted for cultivation, consisting of salt-water 
marshes, and alluvium, moistened by salt-water. 

The entire superficial area of the islands may be comjjuted 

at about 627 square miles. Reckoning only yV therefore of 

the surface as consisting of soil suitable for culture, which 

may undoubtedly be assumed as a fair approximation, we 

have a surface of 439 square miles capable of being made 

productive. But even the very ground now exclusively 

covered with grass, might be made productive with a more 

numerous population and a corresponding improvement in 

cultivation, so that these islands, now the abode of about 5000 

savages, could easily support in comfort a population of over 

100,000 industrious men. 

H 2 

loo Voyage of the Novara. 

At present the chief product of the islands is the cocoa-nut 
pahn, which grows for the most part on the sea-shore, so far 
as the coral-sand reaches. Within the same limits is the ex- 
istence of the inhabitants confined, destitute as they are of 
industry or the capacity to cultivate the soil. This invalu- 
able plant seldom extends far into the interior, and from this 
circumstance was named by a celebrated German traveller 
and botanist, Martins, the " Sea-shore palm," It is, however, 
as yet undecided whether the cocoa-palm is indigenous to the 
Nicobar Islands, or whether, cast on these shores by the waves, 
it has, by virtue of its well-known property of putting forth 
shoots even in salt-water, gradually propagated itself without 
any assistance from man. 

It is said that the profit realized by those engaged in the 
trade in these nuts, amounts to from 20 to 40 per cent., and 
could greatly be increased, if, as for example in Ceylon, 
oil-presses were erected, by means of which the expense of 
transporting the heavy bulky loads of nuts would be econo- 
mised, the oil being exported direct. On the more northerly 
islands the cocoa forest embraces proportionately a far larger 
area, those more to the south being much less abundantly 
supplied, especially Greater Nicobar, where there is hardly 
any. Accordingly the more northerly islands are much the 
more densely peopled, and the cocoa-palms are there sub- 
divided as property, while on the southern islands they seem 
to be freely enjoyed in common. 

Next in importance to the cocoa-nut pahn, as a means of 

Cocoa-palm. — Bread-fruit. — Plantain. i o i 

subsistence to the Inhabitants, is the Pandanus Melori, of the 
family of the PandaneDs, the fruit of which (Melori or Caldevia 
of the Portuguese, the Larohm of the natives) supplies the 
place of rice and Indian corn, neither of which are grown on 
the island, owing to the ignorance of the islanders of the 
principles of cultivation, although the nature of the soil seems 
eminently suited to the production of both. From the huge 
fruit of this Pandanus, a species of bread is prepared, very 
similar to apple marmalade, which is eaten by the natives 
along with the soft white kernel of the ripe cocoa-nut. The 
leaves are prepared as mats of every sort and descrij^tion, 
and are occasionally used for the manufacture of sails. 

The Bread-fruit tree [Podocarpus incisa), which furnishes 
such excellent nutriment, that, according to Cook,* three 
trees suffice to support a man during eight months, is found 
on the" islands in single individuals, and we never happened 
to see its fruit used by the natives. The plantain too seemed 
but sparingly planted, although the elegant leafy green 
canopy of this the most important and nutritious plant, after 
the cocoa-nut, requires but little care in cultivation. The 
sugar-cane, the muscat-nut tree [Myristia 3Ioschatea), and the 
Cardamum Elettaria,'\ grow and flourish on most of the 

• * " If an inhabitant of the South Sea Islands have planted during his life but ten 
bread-fruit trees," says Cook, " he has fulfilled his duties towards his own and his 
grand-children as fully and effectually as the denizen of our rougher clime, who 
during his life-long endures the severity of winter, and exhausts his energies in the 
heats of summer, in order to provide his household with bread, and to save up 
some trifle for his family to inherit." 

t From the Malabar word Elettari. This is the common seed so well known in 

ia2 Voyage of the Novara. 

islands, and orange and lemon trees of the most stupendous 
proportions may be met with, growing wild in the immediate 
vicinity of the native dwellings. 

Of tubers we only found the yam growing in considerable 
quantities, but it seems to be cultivated by the natives more 
as an article of exchange with the ships visiting the islands, 
than for their own use. So far however as we could ascertain 
the capabilities of the soil, the Jucca [JaJcopha Maniliot\ tlie 
sweet potato (the Camote of the Spanish colonies), and other 
American tuberous roots, might flourish here at least as well 
as on the hot damp coasts of the western continent. 

The number of plants collected by our botanists through- 
out this group of islands, amounts to 280 different species ; 
however by a more thorough exploration of the Archipelago, 
the Phanerogamous species may be increased one half in 

There are also two plants, which, although they cannot be 
included among the vegetable products suited for the sus- 
tenance of man, must nevertheless be taken into account as 
contributing in an important degree to the subsistence of the 
natives. These are the Areca palm, and the Betel shrub. 

The nut of the Areca Catechu, and the green leaf of the 
Piper Betle, constitute as already mentioned, together with 
coral lime, the chief ingredients of Betel, that singular saliva- 
tory compound, which has become a prime luxury for the 

the pharmacopeia in the form of a carminative tincture, and is usually known as Al- 
piuia Cardamomia, 

Capabilities for producing Peruvian Bark. 1 03 

inhabitants of tlie Indies, and the adjacent islands. The 
Areca pahn, with its graceful straight stem and elegant tuft 
of leaves, is indigenous to the entire group, and is found 
in considerable quantities. With the enormous demand for 
it as a salivatorj, as also as an article of medicine, it might, 
had the natives the slightest turn for cultivation, yield a 
large profit as an article of commerce. The Betel shrub is 
also found in large quantities in these islands, and needs but 
little looking after. 

The wealth of the forest in ornamental timber, and wood 
fit for building purposes, is so great that, if carefully sur- 
veyed and judiciously thinned, they would not only furnish 
the settler with cleared soil suitable for cultivation, but would 
likewise permit an immense profit to be realized.* 

The Nicobar Islands had been recommended by a learned 
member of the Society of Physicians of Vienna, as a special 
subject of inquiry as to whether this group were not by posi- 
tion, conditions of soil, and climate, particularly suitable 
for the cultivation of the Peruvian bark tree, whose im- 
portance for medical purposes is daily increasing. So far as 

* With respect to the resemblance if not indeed identity of the vegetation of the 
Nicobar Archipelago, with that of the surrounding islands, and the mainland, we 
beg to refer here to the excellent work of an Austrian naturahst, the learned Dr. 
Heifer, who, stricken in the flower of his days by the poisoned arrow of a native of 
the Andaman Islands, fell a victim to his zeal for travel. To the Imperial Royal 
Geographical Society of Vienna, science is indebted for the German edition of this 
important information, under the title of the Published and UnpubHshed Works of 
Dr. J. W. Heifer upon the Tenasserm Provinces, the Mergins Archipelago, and the 
Andaman Islands, in the third volume of its Proceedings for 1859. 

1 04 Voijage of the Novara. 

our brief stay admitted, we did not lose sight of this object, 
but the practical observations we made in the course of our 
voyage led us to conclusions widely different from those 
which, representing the quinquina tree as in danger of being 
extirpated on its native soil. South America, by the careless- 
ness of the Indians, regarded its transplantation into other 
countries as a que;stion of the utmost importance for the 
interests of the human race. The China tree, very far from 
becoming extinct, is carefully cultivated in Peru, Bolivia, 
and Ecuador. The bark is systematically cropped in most 
of these localities, and consequently there is no occasion to 
anticipate any considerable increase in price, or failure in the 
supply of this precious drug. We shall have an opportunity, 
when describing our stay at Java and at the west coast of 
America, to revert at length to this question, and shall have 
only to add the remark, that the great expense of such an 
attempt, and the extraordinary watchfulness and care which 
must be bestowed on the China tree for a number of years 
before the slightest profit can be derived from it, seem alone 
to render hopeless such an undertaking as its introduction in 
the Nicobar Islands, even were the climatic conditions better 
suited to such an experiment than we have reason to believe 
that they are. 

As for the zoology of these islands, it seems to be nmch 
less developed, whether as regards numbers, or size, than might 
be expected, considering the luxuriance of the vegetation. 
The forests arc by their very nature poor in living denizens, 

Limited Animul Kingdom of the Nicohar Group. 105 

the majority of these consistmg of various species of birds. 
In like manner the sea is but Httle productive, and the nets 
which we cast over the ship's side at Kar-Nicobar, Pulo Milu, 
and Ganges-harbour, like the hook and line, brought up but 
few specimens, and those hardly deserving of notice. The 
natives have no nets of any sort, their mode of fishing con- 
sisting simply of raising a succession of weirs, in which they 
can harpoon or take their prey. 

Of domestic animals we saw only swine, hens, dogs, and 
cats, all of which live upon cocoa-nut. The dog, a smooth- 
haired cur of a light brownish-yellow colour, with pointed ears, 
is a sad coward, and his bark rather resembles a prolonged 
howl. The cats and the hens are exactly like those of 
Europe. Cattle for draught or the dairy, are as yet entirely 
unknown to the natives ; yet they might easily be introduced 
from the adjoining shores of India. The zebra breed especi- 
ally, already acclimatized in the tropics, would be of con- 
spicuous utility as beasts of draught, supposing any attempt 
made at cultivation of the soil. 

Judging by the experiments made at Pulo Milu, the intro- 
duction of goats and sheep could only be accomplished with 
much difficulty. On the other hand all manner of poultry 
would be found to thrive in these islands. 

In passing from this very cursory consideration of the 
natural history of these islands* to the race of man who in- 

• An extensive description of the zoology of these islands is reserved for the 
zoological part of the Novara publications, published at the expense of the Austrian 
government, at the Imjierial Printing-office in Vienna. 

io6 Voyage of the Novara. 

liablt them, we find ourselves confronted with a people, wlio, 
on account of the primitive manner in which they live, at- 
tract our interest in the highest degree. The natives of the 
Nicobar group, whose entire number may be estimated at 
from 5000 to 6000 souls, are, as we have already remarked, 
large and well-formed, the skin of a dark brown, bronze-like 
hue, and owing to the prevailing custom of anointing their 
bodies with cocoa-nut oil, usually presenting a glancing 
appearance, and emitting a peculiar odour. This inunction 
is apparently intended to obviate superabundant perspiration, 
as also any skin diseases, just as the Indian races west of the 
Mississippi are accustomed to protect their naked bodies 
against the direct influences of the cold, by rubbing in the 
fat of animals. The practice of daubing the face does not 
seem to be so extensively resorted to, as previous descriptions 
of the Nicobar islanders had led us to believe. We saw only 
one solitary native, at the village of Malacca in the island of 
Nangkauri, who had 23ainted his forehead and cheeks with 
the red pigment obtained from the seeds of the Bixa Orellana 
(the well-known Annatto dye). Instances of tattooing we 
never fell in with, nor do these islanders seem to have any 
desire to imitate the beautiful, sometimes absolutely artistic, 
designs punctured on the hands and feet of the Malays and 
Burmese who occasionally visit them. Moles and blotches 
on the breast and arms are of frequent occurrence. Tlie 
forehead of the Nicobar islander is slightly rounded, and in 
many cases may even be said to be well-formed, but it falls 

Facial Characteristics of the Islanders. 107 

away somewhat suddenly ; the face Is usually broad, and if 
we except tlie rather prominent zygomatic process, approaches 
the oval type ; the hinder portion of the head is flat and seems 
as though crushed inwards, a circumstance of which Fontana, 
in his well-known journal already mentioned, takes special 
notice, and which deserves the more attention, that we think 
we are in a position, by means of actual measurement, and 
inquiries made on the spot, to say with certainty that this 
modification of the normal form of the skull is not natural to 
this race, but is artificially produced. We especially rely 
upon the circumstance, that among the natives of Nangkauri 
and others of the islands, the custom prevails of pressing 
quite flat the head of the newly-born infant, probably in 
conformity with Nicobar laws of taste and beauty : in order 
to make the result more certain, they keep continually re- 
peating this experiment by a variety of different means 
during a considerable time. The nose is of ordinary di- 
mensions, but is always of unusual breadth, and coarse of 
outline ; we found a few individuals with noses of exorbitant 
lenf^th. Owinff to the incredible extent to which the distrust- 
ing practice of chewing the betel-nut is carried, their mouth, 
naturall}^ large, is hideously distorted. On the island of Treis 
we saw an aged native, whose tongue, in consequence of the 
incessant betel-chewing, had been attacked in a similar 
manner as his teeth. The chin is for the most part without 
any marked characteristic, and is usually rather retreating. 
Tlie maxillary bones are broad and projecting, and the 

io8 Voyage of the No vara. 

zygoma lias a rather bold curve. The ears are small, but the 
flaps on the other hand are so broad, that when pierced they 
are ornamented with a piece of bamboo an inch thick. 

Some of the natives make use of this broad aperture to 
store away cigars. The thin eye-brows do not curve over the 
whole of the superior arch of the eye. The hair for the most 
part is beautiful, thick, black, and soft, in many instances de- 
pending low on both sides. The beard is universally very 
thin, and instances of mustachios or goatees are very rarely 
encountered. However a beard does not seem to be classed 
among those objects which add to the Nicobar ideal of beauty. 
At least, as often as they found an opportunity of seizing a 
pair of scissors from our dressing-cases, we used always to see 
the natives eagerly setting about extirpating the few hairs, 
which despite all their endeavours would persist in appearing 
upon the upper lip on either side of the mouth. The expres- 
sion of their face is grave, tranquil, and rather insouciant. 
We never saw in their features any expression of emotion, 
such for instance as might have been imparted by delight at 
having obtained some coveted object, not even when they 
had manifested the utmost eagerness to possess it. The only 
excitement which their ordinarily impassive countenances 
were however many a time called on to indicate, took the 
form of an expression of pain and anxiety, as often as they 
saw a number of strangers make a descent upon their islands. 
The singulai^ly marked similarity of feature in each and 
every individual, may safely be ascribed to the similarity of 

Personal Appearance of the Natives. 109 

condition universally prevalent, to the small scope given to 
the play of their affections, and to the frequent inter- 
marriage, which must necessarily be the case where, as in 
these islands, a couple of hundred human beings form the 
whole population of an island, and where intercommunication 
with the adjoining islands is so confined. 

The assertion by Fontana, that the natives never cut their 
nails, but on the other hand shave off their eye-brows, we 
have never found confirmed in any of the islands we visited, 
although very possibly some few individuals, certainly so far 
as we could find very scanty in number, may ape the customs 
of their Malay and Chinese visitors, by letting their nails 
grow. Of crij^ples, or at all events of individuals stunted in 
their growth, we saw but two, the first case being that of a 
native of Kar-Nicobar, who in consequence of a dislocation of 
the radius at the wrist joint was entirely powerless of the left 
arm ; while the second, a sort of dwarf, who was likewise an 
inhabitant of that island, presented a well-marked corpulence 
in the extremities, and fingers so swelled up and short, that 
he was known among his neighbours by the nickname of 
Kiiitakunti (short finger). 

Hitherto the natives seem to have escaped the ravages of 
sy^Dhilitic diseases. As to any instances of ^dsitations of 
virulent though temporary epidemics, we could not get any 
information of such having occurred ; they have however in 
their language a word (Mallok) for the small-pox, of 
the existence of which we had convinced ourselves by 

no Voyage of the Novara. 

personal demonstration in the case of a Malay, whose face 
was frightfully disfigured by the marks of this appalling 

Although in a climate the annual average of which is 81" 
Fahr., clothes are all but mmecessary, the natives neverthe- 
less manifest an extraordinary passion for European clothing, 
and when it seemed impracticable by any other means to 
elicit an expression of pleasure on their calm, indifferent, 
emotionless countenances, it was always possible to succeed 
by presenting them with a shirt, a coat, or a black silk round 
hat. As however the natives have seldom been presented 
with more tlian one such article at a time, and many a year 
is apt to elapse ere he gets another, by which he might 
succeed in gradually completing his dress, the Nicobarian 
makes his appearance before strangers attired in the most 
extraordinary fashion, almost entirely naked, sometimes with 
only a black hat on his head, or pluming himself on being 
spruced up in a frock coat (but without shirt, stockings, or 
head gear), which on the plump naked brown skin of this 
child of nature has far more the appearance of a straight- 
waistcoat than a comfortable article of dress. 

The natives show infinitely more vanity in the selection of 
a piece of clothing, than calculation as to its real necessity 
or suitability. A large low-crowned white hat with broad rim, 
which we presented to one native, gained not the slightest 
approval, although both in form and colour it was far better 
suited to protecting the wearer against the rays of the tropical 

Native Dwellings. 1 1 1 

sun than a high, narrow-brimmed, fashionable black silk hat^ 
to the possession of which the natives of Kar^Nicobar and 
Nangkauri attach quite an inordinate value. For such an 
article, in the course of barter, they offer 1600 ripe cocoa- 
nuts, while for a long piece of wide dark-coloured muslin, in 
which they are wont to envelope their dead, they will give 
only 1200 such fruits. But the most characteristic head-gear 
of the Nicobarians is a bandeau made of dried leaves of the 
cocoa-nut palm, which gives them quite a picturesque ap- 
pearance. We saw but few ornaments worn, such as neck- 
laces, bracelets, &c., only one or two of the younger men 
having their hands and their necks adorned with massive 
rings of silver and iron wire. 

The dwellings of the natives are usually round, beehive- 
shaped huts, resting on a number of stakes of from six to eight 
feet in height. Simple as is the construction of these huts, 
it nevertheless, especially on the island of Kar-Nicobar, 
possesses a certain degree of ornament, we might almost say 
elegance, while the thatching of dried palm leaves, as also 
the beams and the walls constructed of reeds [Calamus 
Rotang\ are a branch of industry which would do honour 
even to civilized races of the world. The natives usually 
cower or squat on the ground, or seat themselves upon some 
cocoa-nut that has chanced to fall, while at night, stretched 
out upon the flowers shed by the Areca palm, and with their 
heads elevated by a piece of hard wood, they find anywhere 
a sufficiently comfortable couch. 

112 Voyage of the Novara. 

The means of subsistence of the Nicobar islanders are any^ 
thing but abundant. As they are utterly ignorant of cultiva- 
tion, they are entirely indebted for the very first necessaries of 
life to the provision which a bountiful nature has supplied to 
them, without the assistance of man's labour. Their chief 
articles of food are the cocoa-nut and the pandanus fruit. As 
with the natives of India, so among the natives of the Nicobar 
group, the cocoa-palm is applied to the most various purj^oses, 
although it would be difficult to make it fulfil all the ninety 
and nine useful purposes which the Hindoo proverb assigns 
to this noble individual of the royal race of palms. The 
cocoa-palm likewise constitutes the chief article of export of 
the entire group, while the profit from the Trepang (Biche de 
Mar of the English, a sort of cockle), edible swallows' nests, 
tortoise-shell, amber, and so forth, is of the highest importance 
in the interchange of commerce. 

The betel shrub [Piper Betle), next to the cocoa-nut and 
pandanus fruit, one of the most important necessities of the 
inhabitants of these islands, is not indigenous, but has been 
introduced hither from the peninsula of Malacca, and formed 
for a long time an article of commerce and exchange. At 
present this creeper, which spreads with hardly any particular 
care, is found in such quantities that only a small proportion 
of the leafy produce can be consumed by the sparse popula- 
tion. It was always incomprehensible to us in whaF could 
consist the great cliarm of betel -chewing, that a habit so 
loathsome should be so extensively practised by the very 

Virtues of the Betel-leaf. — Betel-chewing. 113 

lowest slaves of the princes of India, by poor as well as ricli, 
nay, should fling its chains, as it actually does, even over 
women and cliildren. A lucky chance, however, threw in 
our way a Sanscrit poem {^HijlopedeBo) which celebrates as 
follows the thirteen cardinal virtues of the betel-leaf: — " Betel 
is pungent, bitter, aromatic, sweet, alkaline, astringent, a 
carminative, a dispeller of phlegm, a vermifuge, a sweetener 
of the breath, an ornament of the mouth, a remover of impuri- 
ties, and a kindler of the flame of love ! friend ! these thirteen 
properties of betel are hard to be met with, even in heaven !"* 

It would be an inquiry of considerable interest to trace the 
influence which the incessant betel- chewing exercises over 
the longevity of the inhabitants, and the changes caused in 
the masticatory organs, which are so constantly exposed to 
these pernicious practices. 

That which most deeply struck us throughout the Nicobars, 
was the frightful decomposition of the teeth, whereas in other 
betel-chewing races these- were stained only of the same deep 
crimson as the lips and the gums. We at first ascribed this 
difference to some variation in the mixture of the ingredients, 
but we repeatedly perceived afterwards that the betel used 
on the Nicobar group consisted of nothing else than a small 
piece of Areca-nut, wliich, sprinkled with a little chalk, was 
enveloped in a green aromatic betel-leaf, and so was popped 

• The Tagali maidens of Luzon regard it as a special proof of the honourable in- 
tentions and eagerness of passion of their admirers, if these latter take the betel 
quid from their mouths ! 


114 ■ Voyage of the Novara. 

into the mouth. The Hindoos, on the other hand, add to these 
ingredients, which tliey always carry about with them in 
elegant cases, a certain astringent substance (formerly called 
Terra Japonicay because it was long supposed to be a mineral 
product) made out of the pith of the Acacia Catechu, a species 
of Mimosa ; or occasionally add to the usual masticatory com- 
position a species of resin obtained from the Melaleuca Cajejmti, 
as also a little tobacco. 

The frightfully destructive effects of the betel on the teeth 
and lips of the Nicobar natives, is apparently attributable only 
to some difference in the proportions of the ingredients used, 
very probably to the use of a larger quantity of coral-lime. 
What is alleged of a custom the Nicobarians have of filing 
down their teeth and rubbing them with some corrosive sub- 
stance, rests exclusively upon conjecture, and is confirmed 
neither by personal observation nor by the account given 
by the natives themselves, nor by the Malay traders who 
frequent Great Nicobar and Nangkauri. 

In social as well as in religious matters, we must consider 
the inhabitants of this Archipelago as among the child-races 
of the world. They consider it a duty to marry very young 
and take but one wife, but they age with uncommon rapidity. 
Of about 100 natives with whom during our stay on the 
various islands we were in communication, hardly one was 
above forty, and the majority may be rougldy estimated at 
from twenty to thirty. If, moreover, we set it down as im- 
probable that all the aged men should liave taken to flight 

Ignorance of Therapeutic qitalUles of Indigenous Plants. 1 13 

like the women and children, it should seem that these natives 
never attain a very extended duration of life. 

Of the therapeutic powers of various plants that are found 
in their forests, the natives have but little knowledge. All 
that they have ever had of drugs have been almost entirel}'' 
su})plied from Europe by captains of English vessels. Al- 
though they attach tlic most extravagant importance to the 
possession of these, these medicines are, if anything, more pre- 
judicial than beneficial to them, as they of course understand 
nothing of their use, and often apply them in the most absurd 
manner. It seems that once some ship captain in order to get 
quit of their importunities made over to them all the articles 
he could most conveniently spare, such as castor-oil, Epsom- 
salts, spirit of camphor, turpentine, peppermint, eau de 
Cologne, &c. &c., and ever since they pester each visitor 
for medicine ! A native once urgently begged us to give 
him a little spirit of turpentine ; on our asking him to what 
purpose he wished to apply it, he answered that he wanted 
to rub himself with it, and take a few drops internally, be- 
cause he believed it was an excellent preservative against 
ague and pain in the chest ! 

The maladies with which th.e natives are most commonly 

afflicted, are intermittent fever, phthisis, and rheumatism. 

In some cases we remarked Elephantiasis Arahica (the Juzam of 

Arab writers), called by the Nicobarians Kelloidg, attacking 

the bones, and several diiferent forms of cuticular eruption. 

The severity of these diseases must be ascribed less to the 

1 2 

1 16 Voyage of the Novara. 

insalubrity of the cMmate than to the unwholesome mode of 
existence of the natives. Can we feel surprised that naked 
men, who do not inhabit the more favourably situated spots 
ventilated by regular winds, but live on the swampy coast, 
in the sandy bays that are fringed with a forest belt, where 
they can grow their cocoa-palms with the least labour to 
themselves, who leave their bodies exposed now to the 
violence of tropical rains, now to the fiery rays of a tropical 
sun, and whose food consists almost exclusively of cocoa-nuts 
and the fruit of the pandanus, — can we wonder that they 
should be in an especial degree subject to disease ? It is a 
mistake to suppose that the food of inhabitants of the tropics 
is that assigned by Nature herself, and therefore the most bene- 
ficial and suitable. For, despite all theory, which for residents 
in the tropics chiefly prescribes substances with plenty of 
carbon and nitrogen as the proper articles of food, we see 
Europeans, more especially Englishmen, in the hottest cli- 
mate in the world, with a thermometer that rarely falls below 
86° Fahr., devouring, just as in a more northern climate, 
strong soups, gigantic beef-steaks, and mutton cutlets to any 
extent, contemptuously turning uj) their noses at mere veget- 
able diet, and barely touching marmalade or sweetmeats ; 
yet there they are blooming in the best of health, far better 
even than that of the natives. Indeed, it is a fact full of 
interest, and confirmed by observations carried on for years, 
that in the Presidency of Madras, for example, the Hindoos 
and Mahmudas, so widely different in their customs and mode 

InahUny of Natives to resist Disease. 117 

of life, were iiiucli more seriously attacked by fever than the 
Europeans resident there, in such entirely different conditions 
of climate than they were accustomed to. On the other 
hand, so far as regards sanitary measures, tliat portion of the 
aboriginal population presents the most favourable results 
which is most intimately allied to the Europeans, and applies 
in its own case the precepts of modern civilization. 

So soon as the natives are attacked by fever with any 
severity, they rapidly succumb. However, we have never 
heard tell of any of that barbarous inhumanity which any 
medicine-man, whose treatment is unsuccessful, is said to ex- 
j^erience at the hands of the relatives and friends of the 
patient, which indeed is all the more improbable as, were 
such really the case, considering the small advantages and 
scrimp fees likely to be picked up by a smart medicine-man 
among such an impoverished race, there would hardly be 
met with one Manlu^na in the entire group ! The head-mark 
of a doctor in the southern islands is his unusually long float- 
ing hair. On our inquiring of a native what qualifications 
were requisite in order to become a doctor, he replied with 
the most charming naivete : '' One must be the son of a 
doctor ! " From this reply we may gather that in the Nico- 
bar Islands medical skill and knowledge of the healing art 
are confined to certain families ! We afterwards found this 
information confirmed, upon our discovering that the youth- 
ful Manlu^na of Great Nicobar, who so severely kneaded 
and twisted the arm of one of the associates of the Expedi- 

1 1 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

tion, was the son of an aged doctor of the island of Kondul, 
and owed his reputation solely to the circumstance of his 
kindi-ed. Besides cases of sickness, the advice, the adroitness, 
and the zeal of the Manluena are held in special repute for 
the driving out of the evil spirit or Ecwees, by which, as al- 
ready mentioned, the inhabitants of the Nicobar Islands be- 
lieve themselves to be incessantly surrounded. 

Of idols proper, such as barbarous tribes construct and 
honour, and to whom they dedicate temples, they have none ; 
nor have they any object in nature, as, for instance, a lofty tree, 
a huge rock or a hill, to which they attach a certain charm, 
like some of the Central American tribes. They have not even 
a word for the Divine idea in their language, nor for Godhead, 
nor for any Beneficent Principle or Being, and the rudely 
carved figures, which are found set up in all sorts of comical 
postures within their huts, are intended to serve no higher 
purpose, than to frighten away those evil spirits which even 
the Manluena has been unable to see, though he sets himself 
forward as able to hold converse with them. 

The notion of a Being, whose wisdom and whose love 
rule the world, is quite as foreign to their minds as the con- 
ception of a spiritual life in the future after death. We^ 
repeatedly asked one of their most intelligent leaders, wKo' 
also S2ooke a little English, whether he believed he should 
ever again recognize his dead friends and relatives ? But he 
replied invariably with a cold, indifferent, ''Never, never!" 
All that we told them of the privileges of a believing Christian, 

ll ' I • JLoJl ^i^i 

Indolent Uniformitu of the Native Life. 119 

of a Divine Being, of tJie belief in a future state of existence 
after death, served only to fill them with astonishment, but 
they seemed ready enough to listen to such subjects. What 
little they had heard upon these truths from missionaries and 
ship captains, appeared however to have left them with very 
confused notions. 

From all that came under our notice, the mode of life of 
these islanders is singularly uniform and indolent, its most 
important events consisting probably of the alterations 
necessary by the interchange of the seasons. They know of 
no other method of computing time than the change of the 
moon and of the monsoons. At the besrinnins' of the wet 
season or S. W. monsoon, and at the corresponding period 
of the dry season or N. E. monsoon, there are certain festivals, 
which somewhat resemble the '^ sowing feasts " and '' harvest 
homes " of the American aboriginal stocks. They have how- 
ever no appointed day of rest, corresponding to the sabbath_ 
of the Christian ^^liiiich, nor indeed do they need such, see- 
ing that in their mode of life every day is a holiday ! They 
have no measm'e for time, nor indeed for anything else : not 
a single native could give us any idea of his own age, nor 
could count above 20.* Time has for them not the slightest 
value: the watchword '^ T/w2e is money I ''^ which first given 
by England, is at present resounding throughout the world, 
falls voiceless and ineffectual on their insensible ears. Their 

* We did fall in with some few individuals on these islands who by dint of much 
exer'iion could count as high as iOO. 

1 20 Voyage of the Novara. 

reckoning of time is as limited as their capacity for recollect- 
ing by gone occurrences. The presence of Christian mission- 
aries at various periods, as also the visit of the Danish corvette 
Galatea in 1847, had already almost entirely disappeared 
from tlieir memory. Only among a very few of their num- 
bers have some of the names clung to the recollection, such 
as Galatea^ and Steene Bilk (which they pronounced Piller). 

We could not find anything that bore the least resemblance 
to any settled form of government, to any distribution upon 
fixed principles of the possessions of the general community, 
to any recognition of individual right, to any tribunal for 
settling quarrels, &c. &c. They recognize the relations of 
family and of property ; on the other hand, the power of the 
captain, one of whom the greater number of villages has each 
for itself, and whom they call Mah or Umiaha (old), extends 
no further than giving him the right to be the first to trade 
with such foreign ships as make their appearance, and to in- 
augurate the barter-system. Indeed this very institution of 
captainship, although much liked by the natives, does not at 
all seem as though it were part of their own system, but to 
date from the period when English merchant vessels began to 
visit these islands regularly. 

As to the social life of the natives, their family relations, 
and so forth, we could get such scanty and uncertain data to 
go upon, what with the cursory visits we paid to the various 
islands, and considering the women and children had every- 
where fled, while the men regarded us simply as intruders, 

Native Implements and Weapons. 121 

that we do not venture to publish any special Information 
upon this point. Be it however permitted to express our 
opinion, that, judging by the tendency to a decent style of 
dress and the extreme elegance of the decorations of the 
canoes and the huts of the islanders of Kar-Nicobar, as con- 
trasted with the destitution, nakedness, and wretched con- 
dition of the natives of the southern Islands of the group, 
civilization seems to be advancing from north to south with 
slow but sure steps. And it will probably interest the philo- 
logist to be informed that both in Kar-Nicobar and Nang- 
Icauri, the most important settlement bears the same name, 
Malacca, as the chief city on the adjoining Malay peninsula. 
As the natives in this delicious far niente existence live ex- 
clusively upon the precious gifts of an all-bountiful Nature, 
which provides them at once with food and drink, one natur- 
ally finds among them few implements of labour, indeed only 
such as are indispensably necessary in erecting their huts, in 
preparing their canoes, and in enabling them readily to 
open the cocoa-nuts. And even these tools, as, for instance, 
hatchets, cutlasses, files, &c., were first procured through 
intercourse with civilization. 

Their weapons consist merely of lances or javelins with 
points of iron or hardened wood, by the number of which, it 
is presumed, the wealth of a Nicobar islander is estimated. 
A cross-bow, which we saw in the possession of a native of 
Kar-Nicobar, although made on the island, was manifestly of 
European design originally, and merely an imitation. 

122- Voyage of the Novara. 

Of musical instruments we did not find a single specimen 
in Kar-Nicobar, whereas on the southern islands there is a 
six, sometimes a seven-holed flute in use, made of bamboo- 
cane, which, as we afterwards discovered, had been brought 
hitlier by the ^Malays ; and also a kind of guitar about two or 
three feet in length, hollowed out, and with sound-holes in 
the side, and made of thick bamboo and reed strings. On 
the whole, however, the Nicobarians seem to be much too 
apathetic and indifferent a race to have any special predilec- 
tion for music, singing, or dancing. Accordingly at their 
monsoon festivals and otlier holiday times, their notion of 
dancing is limited to hopping round in a circle with arms 
entwined, while they at the same time keep up a listless hum- 
ming noise. 

In the case of such a race, which has no civilization or in- 
dustry of its own, it is out of tlie question to speak of their 
having any regular industrial occupation in the strict sense of 
the word. The particular and to them most beneficent plant, 
which supplies them at once with enough to eat and to drink, 
at the same time brings them, very reluctantl}^, into contact 
with civilization, and will yet become a main agent in intro- 
ducing a knowledge of those necessities and acquaintance 
with those articles which are the product of a higher grade of 
civilization alone. The ripe nuts of the cocoa-palm constitute 
the chief article of export of the Nicobar Islands, and, what 
is even more imjiortant, supply the stimulus, which already 
arouses the native to a certain degree of activity, although 

Cocoa-nut supply. — Gradual use of Money. 123 

most of the nuts that arc put on sliip-boarcl are collected not 
by the natives, but by the crews of the Malay vessels. All other 
articles of export, such as Biche de mar, edible birds' nests, 
tortoise-shell, amber, &c., are of very inferior importance, and 
are only taken as by-freight. According to published docu- 
ments the northern islands can supply 10,000,000 cocoa-nuts, 
of which however, at present, not much more than 5,000,000, 
to wit, 3,000,000 from Kar-Nicobar alone, and 2,000,000 
from the rest of the islands, are exported in all. As this fruit 
is one-sixth of the price it bears on the coasts of Bengal, the 
concourse of English and Malay vessels, especially from Pulo 
Penang, increases every year.* The trade is carried on by 
way of barter instead of money payments, although silver is 
highly valued too ; for here also, despite all that is reported 
of the inordinate longing of the Nicobar natives for tobacco, 
glass-beads, and such like rubbish, the truth of the adage is 
fully borne out that '' Money is the most universal merchandise.''^ 
Of silver coins, the natives are only acquainted with rupees, 
Spanish dollars, and English three-penny pieces, which latter 
they call " small rupees." Gold is as yet unknown among 
the southern islands, and therefore is valueless in the eyes of 
the natives. 

So long as the relations of the natives with foreign nations 
were exclusively confined to barter with some couple of dozen 
English and Malay vessels, whicli latter visited the islands 
with the N.E. monsoon and left with the S.W. monsoon, thus 

* At Pulo Penang the jncul of ripe cocoa-nuts, 300, is worth 5^ dollars. 

1 24 Voyage of the Novara. 

making but one voyage in the course of the year, the natives 
of the various islands kept up among themselves quite a fre- 
quent and regular communication. This favourable trait was 
undoubtedly owing in great measure to the defectiveness of 
their otherwise very elegant, but small, slight-built canoes, 
which are but ill adapted for voyaging to any remote distance. 

Respecting that other swarthy, crisp-haired, savage race, 
Avidely different from that inhabiting the coasts of Nicobar, 
which, according to a legend, dwells in the forests of Great 
Nicobar, and lives upon snakes, vermin, roots, and leaves of 
plants, and in the Nicobar idiom called Baju-oal-Tsckiia, we 
could only add to our stock of information by recitals that 
obviously pertained to the domain of Fable-land. When, 
however, we remember that not a single traveller or au- 
thor who has indulged such gossiping, nay, that not even 
the natives who tell such stories of them, have ever seen 
one of this race, we sliall be excused for suggesting in reply 
to the numberless conjectures afloat respecting these mys- 
terious inhabitants, that the alleged denizens of the interior 
of Great Nicobar are neither a widely different race of men 
from the coast-natives, nor yet an offshoot of the crisp-haired 
swarthy race of Papuas from New Guinea, but that, dispossessed 
and degraded by a conjuncture of various hostile influences, 
they hold, with respect to the inhabitants of the sea-board, a 
similar position to tliat occupied by the Bushmen of Namaqua- 
land to tlie Hottentots of Cape Colony. 

In the circumstances in which the inliabitants of this group 

Ethnological Speculations. 125 

of islands at present find themselves, without traditions, with- 
out proverbs, without songs, without monuments, and espe- 
cially without any characteristic peculiarity in their liabits and 
customs which could possibly throw a ray of light upon tlie 
obscurity of their origin, it is a bold undertaking to express- 
any decided opinion as to the derivation and genealogy of 
this people. By far the most probable theory, as is also ad- 
mitted by Dr. Rink, who visited these islands with the Danish 
Expedition, would represent them as an offshoot from the 
north-westerly boundary of the Malay race, as a people which, 
while possessing much in common with the Indo-Chinese 
stock, nevertheless in its physical characteristics seems to hold 
a middle rank between the Malay and the Burmese. 

Considering the study of language as a most important and 
reliable source of information, the members of the Expedition 
made it their main object to draw up, in conformity with what 
is known as Gallatin's method, so extensively used by all 
American and English travellers, a vocabulary of about 200 
words in both languages, viz. that used by the inhabitants of 
Nicobar, and that (widely different in all respects except the nu- 
merals) in use among the natives of the more southern islands. 
As a Malay barque fr'om Pulo Penang was lying at anchor 
during our stay on the northern shores of Great Nicobar, so 
favoiu-able an opportunity was of course made use of to pre- 
pare a similar vocabulary of the Malay idiom spoken at that 
port, which will give the philologist the advantage of being 
able to judge for himself as to the similarity existing between 

126 Voijage of the Novara. 

these two idioms, and thence, by analogy, between the two 
races, and discriminate whether those scholars, such as 
Vatu, come nearer the truth who maintain that the Nicobar 
language is of Malay derivation with an admixture of foreign 
words, principally European, or those other students of philo- 
logy who, as for instance Adelung, hold that the idiom used 
by these islanders is identical with some of the languages of 
the Indo-Chinese peninsula. 

At the same time the ethnographer of the Expedition 
had endeavoured to ascertain by means of a new system 
of measurements of the human frame, drawn up by himself 
in concert with Dr. Edward Schwarz, one of the physicians 
of the Expedition, and with the co-operation and assistance 
of the latter, various data, such as, when applied to the 
various races inhabiting the earth, might justify many new 
and striking conclusions, and ultimately result in definitely 
fixing the relation, resemblance, or physical dissimilarity of 
the various races of man. Such a plan makes it much more 
easy by means of figures, those most undeniable evidences of 
the results of investigations, to get speedily and accurately at 
the required results, than by all the most specious theories laid 
down in the less certain domain of philosophic speculation. 

These measurements, applied at three chief regions of the 
body, namely, the head, the trunk, and the upper and lower 
extremities, are intended to be scientifically discussed in a spe- 
cial memoir,* and we accordingly confine ourselves here to re- 

* " On meaburements as a diagnostic means for' distinguishing the human races, 

Anthropometrical Observations. 127 

-marking' that the various points of measurements were not 
only determined in an anthropological point of view, but tliat 
among the 68 different categories, into which these measure- 
ments are naturally distributed, there occur some which 
supply many curious points of inquiry, as also considerable 
assistance not merely to national economics, the result of the 
light thrown upon the subject of the average of muscular 
strength of the various races as found by the dynamometer, 
but also to the graphic art, with respect to a more accurate 
acquaintance with the human skeleton as well as the entire 

In like manner we never omitted to collect some of the 
hair of the head from as many as possible of the various 
individuals measured, since the laborious researches of Peter 
Brown of Philadelphia on the human hair, have elevated it 
into a very remarkable means of tracing the origin of the 
various disparities of race. 

It must also be considered as an especial boon for the 
science of comparative anatomy, as Avell as universal ethno- 
graphy, that we succeeded in bringing away with us from the 
Nicobar Islands the skulls of two of the natives. 

Lastly, a small collection of twenty-three subjects of ethno- 
graphical inquiry, collected from the various islands, will be 
found useful, partly as illustrating the information already ob- 

being a systematic plan established and investigated by Dr. Karl Scherzer and Dr. 
Edward Schwarz, for the purpose of taking measurements on individuals of different 
races, during the voyage of H. I. M.'s frigate Novara round the world." Vide Proceed- 
ings of the I. R. Geographical Society of Vienna, vol, II. of 1859, p. 11. 

128 Voyage of the Novara. 

tained, partly as affording evidence of the amount of culture 
of the inhabitants of the Nicobar Archipelago. 

We are still called upon to answer the question already 
propounded, whether the Nicobar Islands are suited as the 
site of a colony, and whether the numerous attempts already 
made in this direction did not probably fall tlirough for 
other reasons than those of climate. 

According to inquiries instituted by the members of the 
Austrian Expedition, this insular group, by its geographical 
position i_i one of the very chiefest commercial routes of the 
world, and by the richness and abundance of the products of 
its soil, offers sufficient points of attraction to interest any lead- 
ing commercial or maritime power, in securing possession of it. 
With regard to any colonization or cultivation of the soil by 
free European immigrants, there is as little to be said as of 
almost any other islands in the tropics. In order to make 
such spots aids to the extension of civilization, the utmost 
certainty of rule is imperatively necessary, such as was insti- 
tuted with such marvellous results by England in Pulo 
Penang, Singapore, Sydney, &c. The climate of the Nico- 
bars is very far from being so deadly, that mere residence 
upon them must speedily prove fatal to Europeans, and it 
will undoubtedly be signally ameliorated by a partial clear- 
ing of the forests, cultivation of the soil, channelling of the 
rivers, and drainage of the swamps. All such works however 
must be executed by Malay or Indian labourers, under the 
superintendence of Europeans. From what we liave learned 

Preliminaries necessary for colonising the Nicohars. 1 29 

by personal observation of the surprising influence which the 
transportation system has exercised in Australia upon the cul- 
tivation and development of the soil, as also upon the social 
condition of the convicts themselves, we do not hesitate, de- 
spite the distrust of experiments of such a nature which pre- 
vails in certain philosophic circles of Europe, to express our 
opinion, that with a little prudence and forbearance convict 
labourers in abundance could be imported, who would be at 
once better off, more contented, and more disposed to do hon- 
our to their man's estate than as at present confined at home 
in their dreary prison cells.* 

If the various experiments hitherto made have all fallen 
through, the ''effect defective" undoubtedly arises from the 
deficiency of means requisite for such an undertaking, and in 
the limited number of men, merely humanly speaking, who 
were engaged in such enterprises. The mere prime cost of 
clearing and cultivation, so as to enable them to anticipate a 
good return for their labour, must be set down as at the 
lowest computation between £100,000 and £150,000; the 
number of labourers employed in the undertaking at from 
300 to 400 ; of whom all skilled artisans, such as carpenters, 
joiners, locksmiths, blacksmiths, bricklayers, masons, &c., 
must accompany the settlers from Europe. 

The sums expended for the first outlay must not however 
be set down as entirely thrown away, since the fertility of 

• In the Sydney chapter the reader will find the Transportation question pretty 
fully discussed. 


130 Voyage of the No vara. 

the islands in those colonial products that are most valu- 
able, and the enormous quantity of cocoa-nut palms, must, 
under the impulse of cultivation and industrious habits, 
speedily make returns in countless tides of prosperity. So 
far as regards the aboriginal population, of whom there are 
not above 5000 or 6000 on all the islands, they would ex- 
perience but little annoyance from the carrying out of such 
an enterprise. In fact, morally and materially they could 
only gain from the introduction of a foreign element. At 
present they are confined to the narrow belt of shore, where 
grows the cocoa-palm, their sole support. The interior of the 
island, so prolific in natural wealth of the most varied de- 
scription, and which would become infinitely more valuable 
under a proper development of its capabilities, is utterly un- 
known and valueless to the native. 

Once a settlement were fairly set a-going on the above-men- 
tioned principles, the inhabitants of the Nicobar Archipelago 
would be placed under the tutelage of Em-opean civilization, 
and in their transactions would no longer be exposed to the 
knavery and caprices of ships' captains. It would be necessary 
to watch over the natives as over minors, so as not alone to 
secure for them material benefits, but by liberal sympathetic 
treatment as the groundwork of their education, gradually to 
establish that faith whose introduction hitherto, despite numer- 
ous praiseworthy endeavours in the past as well as the present 
century, has been doomed to be unsuccessful through a variety 
of extraneous circumstances. Moreover, the Nicobar Archi- 

Geographical Memorandum — Voijage to Singapore. 1 3 1 

pelago would be a most convenient central station whence to 
impart the blessings of Christianity to the pagans of the 
adjoining groups of islands. 


Relating to those points of the Nicobar Archipelago whose 
geographical position was ascertained by the Novara Expe- 


Latitude North. 

Longitude East from 

Stiui Cove . . 

9° 14' 8" 

92° 44' 46" 


9 7 32 

92 43 42 

Morrock Bay 

8 32 30 

93 34 10 

Kaulaha . . 

8 2 10 

93 29 40 


7 12 17 

93 39 57 

Galatea Cove 

6 48 26 

93 49 51 

A very careful measurement, made at the point of observ- 
ation in Saui, of the Moon's distance Jfrom Jupiter, gave 6 h. 
11 min. 2 sec, or 92° 45' 30" East. 

Our voyage from the south side of Great Nicobar to 
Singapore occupied twenty days. This time the fine weather 
seemed to have entirely abandoned us. Day and night, at 
almost all hours and from all parts of the sky, we encountered 

K 2 

132. Voyage of the Novara. 

severe thunder-storms, with water-spouts, lightning, thunder, 
and the most tremendous rain-squalls. We could thoroughly 
realize that we were in the trojoics at the beginning of the 
rainy season. One day during the prevalence of one of those 
floods, five tons during the first half hour, and in the course 
of an hour and a half eight tons, or 32,000 pints of water, 
were collected by the sailors in buckets and other similar 
utensils. These storms came now from the coast of Sumatra, 
now from the Malay peninsula, or yet again from the Straits 
of Malacca, and gave our jolly tars not a moment of repose. 
These tempests alternated with calms accompanied by a most 
oppressive sweltering hot temperature, and if by chance a 
breeze sprang up, it was sure to come out of the straits dead 
against us, and, coupled with the strong contrary current, 
fairly arrested our progress. Thus tacking about for 14 days 
between the north shore of Sumatra and Junk-Ceylon, we 
made as much way in that time as a fast steamer would have 
done in as many hours, and it was but poor consolation to us 
that several ships close to us, perhaps six or eight, shared 
the same adverse destiny. 

An incident of a very singular nature suddenly gave us 
all plenty of excitement. As our deeply respected chaplain 
was sitting reading one evening in his cabin, he became 
sensible of a peculiar pressure on his foot ; the servant 
being called, made his appearance with a candle, and on ex- 
amining the floor was horror-struck at perceiving a pretty 
large sea-snake (Chorsi/drus fasciatus), coiled round the foot of 

Fair-ivay of Straits of Malacca gradually contracting. 133 

the priest. In the same instant this gentleman instinctively 
rid himself of the poisonous reptile by a vigorous kick, while 
the various persons who hurried to the spot were resolved 
they would secure this dangerous assailant dead or alive. 
Within the narrow limits of a ship's state-room, a campaign 
is speedily brought to a close. His snakeship was forthwith 
routed out of his asylum, and hacked into more pieces than was 
exactly agreeable to the zoologists, who had been extremely 
anxious, and even expected, to preserve this now doubly in- 
teresting reptile almost uninjured in spirits of wine. It was 
a tolerably large specimen, one inch thick, and about three 
feet long, and had apparently either wriggled up the cable, 
or had been washed on board by a wave through the open 
sky-light of the cabin. 

At length on the 9 th of April wind and weather changed, 
and, in company with the entire squadron of companions in 
misfortune, we sailed gaily into the Straits of Malacca, with all 
sail set, and. dead before the wind. On the 1 1th of April, early 
in the morning, we found Pulo-Penang (also called Areca, or 
Prince of Wales' Island) lying broad on our port beam. Its 
chains of forest-clad mountains, gloomy, and overcast with 
dense masses of cloud, prevented our realizing the charms of 
this possession of England, such as they have been described 
by all who have visited it. 

On the 12th of April we steered between the Sambelongs, 
or Nine Islands, and the island of Djara, and caught a glimpse 
of the lofty well- wooded mountains of the kingdom of Perah. 

134 Voyage of the Novara. 

The channel through these straits is becoming more and more 
contracted owing to the dehouche at this point of the river Perah. 
Shallow sand-banks and small rocky islands impede the navi- 
gation, and it is a common precaution for ships to cast anchor 
at the least approach of foul weather, an operation which is 
the more readily set about that the water is nowhere above 
twenty fathoms, but good holding ground throughout the 
straits. Moreover, the charts of these regions are thoroughly 
reliable and accurate, while at the most dangerous spot, where 
a sand-bank with only one fathom of water over it lies right 
in the tracks of vessels, a light-ship is moored, which we 
passed on the 13th of April, and continued our voyage 
through the night in perfect safety. 

On the morning of the 14th April, the hill of Ophir (called 
also Ledang or Pudang), 5700 feet high, lay fair before us. 
We now found ourselves opposite the town of Malacca. The 
channel at this point approaches so close to the mainland, 
that we could easily distinguish churches and houses, and 
the frigate exchanged signals with the neighbouring sema- 

Malacca, once the Malay capital, has at present altogether 
lost its former importance, and of the three English colonies 
in the Straits of Malacca, usually known as the Straits Settle- 
ments^ is the least important in either a political or a com- 
mercial sense. The entire region was, until within these few 
years, in most evil repute for the atrocious piracies perpetrated 
hero. Natives used to lie in wait in small canoes filled with 

Arrival at Singapore. 135 

merchandise of all sorts, with wliich they boarded the pass- 
ing ships, and while these were supplying themselves with fruit 
and fresh provisions, the former were spying the number of 
crew, as also the means of defence of the unfortunate vessel ; 
after which it usually happened, that during the night the more 
defenceless of them, while becalmed or lying at anchor, would 
be attacked by an overwhelming force of pirates and ruth- 
lessly plundered. Captain Steen Bille relates, that even so late 
as 1846, he loaded his cannon with shot, and maintained 
extra vigilance during the night. 

We now sped along, still favoured by the wind, dm-ing the 
ensuing night, and on the morning of the 15th April had the 
satisfaction of reaching the entrance of the bay of Singapore, 
without once having to lie at anchor in the straits. The 
landscape that lay outstretched before us was splendid, — lofty 
wooded islands on the coast of Sumatra, and a whole archi- 
pelago of islets lay around us, in the channels between 
which prahus were sailing about, while Chinese junks, full- 
rigged ships and barques, were working in or out as the case 
might be, all intimating the proximity of a great mart of com- 
merce. Equally fortunate as in the straits was our passage 
tln*ough the labyrinth of islands, through which a vessel must 
wind in order to reach Singapore. And this roadstead itself, 
what a contrast it presented to the lovely beach of the Nicobar 
Islands ! Here were thousands of ships of all sizes and rigs, 
and the flags of nearly all sea-farmg nations in the world. 
We found at anchor the English frigate Amethyst, and the 

136 Voyage of the Novara. 

screw corvette Niger ; and having warped ourselves into their 
vicinity, by 2 p.m. we had cast anchor in 13 fathoms water. 
Almost immediately afterwards an officer came off from the 
Amethyst to welcome us, and to impart to us the unpleasant 
intelligence that cholera had been raging in the city for some 
weeks past, and had also committed gi^eat havoc among the 
shipjjing in harbour. Even the captain and one of the crew 
of an English merchantman had succumbed but a few hours 
previously to this fell scourge, and the vessel had her flag 
half-mast high as a signal of mourning. This information 
at once deranged all our plans and projects with respect to 
Singapore, and had we not been compelled to victual here, 
we should at once have set sail. However, under the cir- 
cumstances there was nothing to do but to spend five or six 
days at Singapore, and this breathing-space we availed our- 
selves of to obtain as much information as possible both by 
eye and ear touching this very remarkable colony, and its 
not less interesting inhabitants. 

Stat from 15th to 21st April, 1858. 

Position of the Island. — Its previous history. — Sir Stamford 
C Raffles' propositions to make it a port of the British Govern- 
ment free to all sea-faring nations. — The Island becomes part of the 
Crown property of England. — Extraordinary development under the 
auspices of a Free Trade policy. — Our stay shortened in consequence of 
the severity of the cholera. — Description of the city. — Tigers. — Gambir. 
— The Betel plantations. — Inhabitants. — Chinese and European labour. — Climate. 
— Diamond merchants. — Preparation of Pearl Sago. — Opium farms. — Opium manu- 
facture. — Opium smokers. — Intellectual activity. — Journalism. — Logan's " Journal 
of the Indian Archipelago." — School for Malay children. — Judicial procedure. — 
"Visit to the penal settlement for coloured criminals. — A Chinese provision merchant 
at business and at home. — Fatal accident on board. — Departure from Singapore. — 
Difficulty in passing through Caspar Straits. — Sporadic outbreak of cholera on 
board. — Death of one of the ship's boys. — First burial at sea. — Sea-snakes, — Ar- 
rival in the Roads of Batavia. 

The island of Singapore or Singhapura * is situated at the 
southernmost point of the peninsula of Malacca, from which it 
is only separated by a strait nowhere above a mile in breadth. 

* City of Lions, from Singha, the Sanscrit for Lion, a title of Indian princes, 
which we again meet wnth in Singhala, the kingdom of Lions, as Ceylon is called in 
ancient records and histories. 

138 Voyage of the Novara. 

It is about 29i statute miles in length from east to west, by 
IGf in breadth from north to south. The suj^erficial area of 
the island is estimated at 206 square geographical miles, 
which will make it about one half larger than the Isle of 

Up to the year 1819, Singapore was a howling wilderness, 
and the only settlement upon its shores was a couple of wretched 
Malay fishermen's huts ; a lurking-place for the pirates, who 
at that period made it dangerous to navigate those waters. 
After the rendition of the Dutch colonies in the Indian Archi- 
pelago, which it will be remembered were the property of 
England throughout the great continental war up to the year 
1814, Sir Stamford Rafiles, the former Governor of Java, was 
intrusted with the office of founding on it, as the most suit- 
able spot in all the Malay seas, a free emporium where the 
general trade in those seas of all the sea-faring nations of the 
world might be concentrated and exchanged. England had 
further in view to leave not a single foot to stand on to the 
Dutch, whose interests in those seas clashed with her own, 
to obtain an emporium in which to collect all the more im- 
portant products of the Archipelago for exchange against the 
teas and silks of China ; and, lastly, to procure for the reception 
and repairs of the ships of war and merchantmen, a suitable 
harbour, such as, being in the vicinity of the teak-growing 
countries, would also have the advantage of supplying timber 
for her ships at any period when there might be in England 
a deficient supply of oak. 

Foundation of the Settlement of Singa'pore. 139 

Sir Stamford, having previously examined several other 
localities, ultimately selected Singapore, and on 6th February, 
1819, the English flag was hoisted on this solitary island, 
thus unsuspectedly inaugm^ating the beginning of a new era 
for the sea-faring world ! At last, in 1824, came the Treaty 
of Cerum, by which Holland withdrew her pretensions in 
favour of England, and Singapore became an inalienable 
possession of the British Crown for a sum of 60,000 Spanish 
dollars paid over to its previous owner the Sultan of Djohore, 
together with a life-rent of 24,000 dollars annually payable 
to the same Malay chief. The slaves on the island were set 
at liberty, slavery was entirely abolished, and Singapore pro- 
claimed a Free Port. The importance of Singapore as a site 
for a colony had already been pointed out and justified a 
century since by Captain Alexander Hamilton, who visited 
these seas at the beginning of the 18th century, and in a work 
entitled " A New Account of the East Indies," describes most 
circumstantially his stay at Djohore in 1703 on his voyage to 
China. In that work Hamilton narrates how the Sultan of 
Djohore wished to make him a present of the island, and how 
he declined this proposal with the remark that this island 
could be of no use to a private man, but would be eminently 
suitable for a colony and an emporium of trade,* because the 
winds were at all seasons favourable for egress from and 
entrance into these waters on every side. A hundred years 

* Captain Alexander Hamilton's " New Account of the East Indies, 1688 — 
1723." Edinburgh, 1727. 8vo, Vol. II., p. 63. 

140 Voyage of the Nov ar a. 

later, the choice of Sir Stamford Raffles, to whom this rela- 
tion of Hamilton seems to have been entirely unknown, fell 
upon the same locality, thus testifying alike to the eligibility 
of its position, and to the wise forecast of the founder of this 
British settlement. 

Before the arrival of the Europeans in India round the 
Cape of Good Hope, towards the commencement of the 16th 
century, the trade of these countries was exclusively confined 
to the Arabs and Hindoos, who acted as a medium between 
the far East and Europe. Every island in the Archipelago, 
in proportion to the abundance and value of its vegetable 
produce and its foreign intercourse, had one or more harbours, 
at which the products of the surrounding districts and islands 
were gathered and heaped up until the monsoon permitted 
the arrival of the merchant vessels from the West. At the 
beginning of the fine season, Arabs and Indians entered these 
harbours in their ships, and brought Indian and other manu- 
factures and merchandise, which they were in the habit of 
exchanging for gold, gum, spices, tortoiseshell, rosin, jewels, 
and such like. Acheen in the north of Sumatra, Bantam in 
Java, Goa in Celebes, Bruni in Borneo, and Malacca in the 
peninsula of the same name, were the most important of these 
depots for merchandise and centres of trade. At present the 
importance of all these places has faded into history, where- 
as Singapore, from its singularly favourable geographical 
position, and the liberality of its political institutions, has 
made such a stride, as is entirely without parallel in the 

Present Trade of Singapore. 141 

history of the world's trade. From a desolate haunt of 
piratical foes, the island has been converted into a flourishing 
emporium; about 1000 foreign vessels, and fully 3000 Malay 
prahus and Chinese junks, flit backwards and forwards annu- 
ally witli all sorts of merchandise and produce, while the 
value of the goods annually exchanged here amounts to about 
£11,000,000. Such is the change that has come over the 
old unhealthy, ill-omened Malay pirate abode : thanks to a 
clearly defined Free Trade policy ! If a doubt should still ob- 
trude itself as to these brilliant results of the utmost freedom and 
absence of restriction upon trade, it must give way before the 
spectacle presented to the view of the astonished beholder in 
the harbour of Singapore, the Alexandria of the 19th century! 
Unfortunately, however, our stay in this harboui', so in- 
teresting in a scientific as well as in a commercial point of 
view, was sensibly curtailed by the prevalence of such ex- 
ceedingly unfavourable conditions of the public health. 
Hardly had we cast anchor ere an officer of the English 
frigate Amethyst came on board to salute, and to inform us 
that for several weeks past the cholera had been ravaging 
the city, especially what is known as the Chinese quarter. 
In another war-ship then in the harbour, the screw corvette 
Niger^ several of the crew had already succumbed to the 
pestilence; and even in our own immediate neighbourhood 
was anchored a sliip with flag half-mast high, a melancholy 
siornal that the ano^el of death was once more seekino^ victims. 
Our original plan of passing several weeks at Singapore had 

142 Voyage of the Novara. 

of course to be abandoned, and we determined at once to get 
under weigh, so soon as the ship had been re-victualled and 
sundry other matters of imperative necessity carefully looked 
to. Meanwhile the naturalist corps landed, and proceeded to 
see and examine as much as they possibly could. 

The town of Singapore, situated at the southern extremity 
of the island of the same name, is divided by the river Singa- 
pore, on whose banks it is built, into two parts, in the north- 
ernmost of which are the churches, the law courts, the residences 
of the European settlers, and a little further away the native 
dwellings, as also the Kampong-Klam or Bugis quarter, so 
called from the number of Bugis from Celebes who congre- 
gate there to do business ; while on the south bank of the 
river, only a few feet above the level of the sea, are the 
warehouses and offices of the various European and Chinese 
merchants. Still further to the southward and in another 
small cove, called New Harbour, are the buildings and docks 
of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam-Ship Company. 

Behind the city are visible three hills of inconsiderable 
height, called Pearl Hill, Government' Hill, and Soj^hia Hill. 
The middle one, on which stands Government House, rises 
on the left bank of the river, about half a mile from the sea- 
shore, to a height of about 156 feet above sea-level. On 
Pearl Hill, which commands the Chinese and mercantile 
quarters of the town, a citadel has been constructed. The 
environs of the town on every side consist of a rolling sweep 
of hilly country, diversified in outline by about 70 different 

Extraordinary Ravages of Tigers. 143 

eminences varying in height from GO to 170 feet, crowned 
with the elegant villas of the European merchants or govern- 
ment officials, or the residences of wealthy Chinese or Malays. 
The loftiest point is Bukit Tm-iah or Tin Hill, lying about 
the centre of the island, and 519 feet in height. Although 
accessible in a few hours from the city, it is very rarely made 
the scene of any excursions, in consequence of the forests 
which encu'cle it having for long been frequented by great 
numbers of tigers. These animals, eager for prey, cross 
from the mainland by swimming the narrow strait, hardly 
more than half a nautical mile in width, which separates it 
from the island. Dr. Logan, the excellent editor of the Sin- 
gapore Free Press, assured us that till within the last six or 
seven years, 360 natives had annually been carried off by 
the tigers ! Even at present, over 100 persons a year are 
killed in the forest by the tigers that prowl there. Shortly 
before our arrival, in the month of March, four persons had 
perislied by these voracious animals. For an explanation of 
such horrible occurrences, we must consider the heedlessness 
of the natives, and the peculiar conditions affecting the mode 
of agriculture followed on the island. The soil of Singapore 
is not sufficiently fertile to make the cultivation of land a 
customary occupation. Even for rice-growing it is found to 
be unsuitable, so that the greater part of that chief staple of 
subsistence has to be imported from the neighbouring islands. 
So far as the island has been cleared, viz. to a distance of 
about five miles round the city, attempts have been made to 

144 Voyage of the Novara. 

plant nutmeg, clove, and fruit-trees. But the majority of tlie 
natives busy themselves with sowing the Gambir and Betel 
shrubs in the jungle, the leaves of which are readily disposed 
of at a good profit among the betel-chewing inhabitants of the 
Indian Archipelago for an ingredient of their beloved masti- 
catory. The mode of cultivating these, however, is very 
peculiar. As Gambir speedily exhausts the soil in which it 
is planted, and renders it quite barren, the cultivators find 
themselves compelled to advance as though by a sort of per- 
petual emigration. They hew their way into the jungle, 
where they plant the Gambir {Nauclea Gamhw)* the withered 
branches and leaves of which, after it has served their pur- 
pose, are used as manure for the next shrub planted, the Betel 
{Piper methysticmn). After a short time the soil becomes un- 
suited for this also, and needs several years' rest before it can 
again be made to produce any crop. 

In the prosecution of this thriftless cultivation the natives 
are compelled to penetrate deeper and deeper into the forest, 
in order to clear away with the axe spots of virgin soil for 
the planting of the Gambir. They frequently pass months 
at a time in the jungle, and with the carelessness character- 
istic of all southern races, constantly allow themselves to be 
surprised by wild beasts. Government, however, does not 
neglect publisliing ordinances, by which as far as possible to 
discourage these formidable invaders. They have offered a 

* From this shruL is prepared the drug Kino, once much used in the Pharmacopoeia, 
but now displaced by catechu. 

Mode of trai^inng Tigers. — Chinese Emigration. 145 

reward of 50 dollars for every tiger killed. So soon as the 
track of a tiger has been struck, the natives usually dig a pit 
fifteen or twenty feet deep, which they cover slightly with 
grass and brushwood, and fasten close by a goat, a dog, or 
some other living creature. As soon as the tiger, eager for 
liis prey, seeks to seize the poor animal, the brushwood gives 
way under him and he falls into the pit, where he is speedily 
finished with muskets. 

The entire population of the island amounts to about 
100,000 souls, of which the greater number, say 60,000, in- 
habit the town itself or the smTounding villages. One meets 
here with a singular mixture of races, Europeans, Malays, 
Chinese, Klings (as the natives of the Coromandel coast are 
called), Arabs, Armenians, Parsees (Fire-worshippers), Ben- 
galees, Bm^mese, Siamese, Bugis (from Celebes), JaA^anese, 
and from time to time visitors from every corner of the Archi- 
pelago. Of these the Europeans, although exercising far the 
largest and most preponderating influence upon the trade of 
the place, are much the weakest in point of numbers, the 
entire community not exceeding 300 or 400 on the whole 
island. On the other hand, the Chinese out-number all the 
rest, and are still constantly on the increase. Every year, as 
the N.E. monsoon sets in, in December and January, vast 
swarms of Chinese flock hither, fleeing from the poverty and 
distress of their native land. There are individuals, who 
make a regular trade of importing into Singapore coolies 
from China and the Coromandel coast. At the port of em- 


146 Voyage of the No vara. 

barkation, each coolie engages with the captain, to serve one 
year after his arrival in Singapore with a European or native 
master, and to repay the cost of his passage out of his monthly 
wages. He usually receives at first 3 dollars a month (about 
12^. Gf?.), out of which he lays aside IJ doL, and so gradually 
pays off his indebtedness to the ship captain. The passage- 
money, which a few years back was only about 10 or 12 E.s. 
(£1 to £1 4^.), is at present as high as 20 Rs., or £2. After 
the first year his earnings may amount to about 4 or 5 dols. 
a month. If, however, the coolie have repaid his debt, he 
is free, and may either earn a very good wage as a servant, 
or start in any business for himself. The facilities for earning 
money are so great here for men of industry and steadiness, 
that a few years' stay suffices to convert these naked, filthy, 
hang-dog looking wretches into clean well-to-do workmen, and 
some of them even attain a certain status in the community, 
as planters and merchants. Many a Chinese, who is now an 
important and wealthy man, possessed not a farthing when 
he landed on the hospitable shore of the English colony. 
The number of Chinese resident in Singapore is estimated at 
60,000, or nearly two-thirds of the entire population of the 

We need not feel surprised therefore to find that the long- 
tailed children of the Flowery Land living in Singapore have 
begun to develope a certain taste for luxury. They already 
boast a theatre of their own, a wooden booth, like a gigantic 
dolls' house, in which actors from China yell out their " sing- 

Chinese Temple at Singapore. 147 

song," while the auditory, penned in within a careMly-locked 
court-yard, chant a vociferous accompaniment to this some- 
what monotonous exhibition. Moreover, Singapore possesses 
a Chinese temple of such splendour, that one would hardly 
find its match in the Flowery Land itself. This is called the 
Telloh-Ayer, situated in the street of the same name, and is 
decorated with handsome carvings, innumerable mysterious 
inscriptions, and grotesque figures of stone and wood. The 
Chinese who conducted us all round were exceedingly 
friendly, and when, at parting, we slid a few pieces of silver 
into their hands as a recompense for their trouble, they gave 
vent to their feelings in repeated chin-chins, a mode of greet- 
ing which corresponds to the Salaam of the Mahometan 

Many of the Chinese of Singapore belong to secret societies 
(Hoes), the members of which seem banded together for both 
good and bad objects and for mutual protection. Their 
rules are so strict, and their slightest infraction is so fearfully 
punished, that hardly an instance has ever been known of an 
associate having been denounced or proved a traitor. In the 
British possessions, where the government attaches no sort of 
importance to these associations, and suffers them to pass un- 
molested so long as the laws of the country are not violated, 
these societies are unimportant, and are productive of no 
evil consequences ; but in the Dutch East Indies, where the 
government has always kept theii' subjects in a state of 
tutelage, and is in a marked degree adverse to the Chinese 

L 2 

148 Voyage of the Novara. 

settled in their colonies, these secret societies assume a far 
more dangerous character, and murders on purely political 
grounds are far from infrequent. 

The natives proper of Singapore are Malays, and their 
language is that most in use for general intercourse and 
trade. But as o^^en-air labourers they are far inferior to the 
Chinese, who are much more enduring, more contented, and 
more sociable. In tliis connection the following comparative 
statement, prepared a few years since by W. J. Thompson, Esq., 
government engineer in Singapore, of the relative values of 
English and Chinese labom*, will be found of much interest. 
To build a wall in England containing 306 cubic feet would, 
according to Mr. Thompson's estimate, employ one brick- 
layer and one ordinary labourer 4tVo days, the former receiv- 
ing 55. 6 J. per day, the latter 85. 6J., the total expense amount- 
ing to 3O5. In Singapore a similar piece of work, executed 
by Chinese labourers, would require Stto days, and the daily 
wage would amount to 2^. 9M. for the bricklayer and \s. 7id. 
for his assistant, the total expense amounting to 37^. Qtd. 
Thus, English laboiu' shows an economy over Chinese in the 
proportion of 52 to 100 in time, and of 4 to 5 in actual ex- 
pense. The following is also interesting by way of confirma- 
tion. It had been resolved to fill up a swamp in Singapore, the 
material for which was at hand at either extremity. The 
swamp was 1200 feet long, 1 foot deep, and 21 feet wide. 
The contract was allotted to the Chinese, and completed in 
326 working days, at 13 cents or \\\d. a day. An English, 

Comparative Economy of English and Chinese Labour. 149 

or Indeed any other European labourer, would have com- 
pleted the same in 187 days, so that here also English or 
European labour in general is more valuable than Chinese or 
any other Asiatic labour in the proportion of 100 to 57. 

These results must not however be held to indicate that the 
Chinese labourer possesses less physical strength than the 
European, nor must we leave out of view this element in the 
calculation, that the one executes his work in a temperate, the 
other in an excessively hot climate, to which European 
labom^ers speedily succumb, or at all events lose their powers 
and their strength in a very marked degree. Indeed it seems 
to decide the question in favour of the Chinese over the 
European labourer, that the former can work without taking 
any heed for his health in even the most variable tempera- 
tures. These instructive comparisons seem to be in so far 
especially valuable and useful, wherever it is projected to 
carry out certain undertakings, the cost of which may be 
estimated, due reference being had to the well-ascertained 
expense of constructing similar works in Europe. 

Next to the Chinese, the Klings, or natives of the Coroman- 
del coast, are in the greatest request as boatmen, coachmen, 
pedlars, porters, and house-servants, by Eui'opeans as well as 
by their own successful fellow-countrymen. From their 
habits of extreme sobriety, they speedily save money, and 
generally return home, although a certain number continue 
permanent settlers in Singapore. The Armenians resident 
here are the most like the European mercantile community ; 

150 Voyage of the Novara. 

the Arabs are the descendants of those Mahometan priests 
and merchants whom the Portuguese found Iiere when they 
first visited tliis quarter of the globe, and are recruited from 
time to time, but on the whole rarely, by fresh arrivals from 
their mother country. 

One very marked peculiarity of the population of Singa- 
pore is the enormous disparity between the numbers of the 
sexes. The proportion of females to males is as one to seven. 
The most probable explanation of this phenomenon is the 
circumstance that hitherto the emigration of females from 
Cliina has been entirely prohibited, and consequently almost 
all the Chinese residents, who constitute by far the majority 
of the whole population, are unmarried. Among them the 
proportion of females to males is as one to thirteen. 

The health of Singapore is not always so bad as at the 
period of our visit ; indeed, judging by perquisitions made for 
the purpose, the climate may rather be regarded as salubrious, 
particularly since the immediate vicinity of the town has been 
so extensively cleared. The outbreak of cholera was entirely 
new, and on that account an all the more appalling visitation. 
The temperature is tolerably equal throughout the year. Ob- 
servations carried on uninterruptedly during five years give 
an average of 8P 3. Fahr. for the hottest month (May), and 
of 79** 5. Fahr. for the coldest (January). Once only during 
the five years (in June) did the thermometer attain a 
lieight of 87° 2. Fahr. and once only in January did it fall 
as low as 74" 8. Fahr. By comparing the present range 

Temperature. — Climate. — Borneo Diamonds. 151 

of temperature with tliat of tliirty years since, it appears that 
since the foundation of the settlement it has gained three de- 
grees in temperatm^e, a phenomenon which may be ascribed 
to the increase of buildings, and to the large clearings for a 
distance of five miles round the town, and perhaps also to the 
spot itself Avhere these observations were made being exposed. 

There is no regular rainy season in Singapore. Rain falls 
every month throughout the year, the heaviest falls occurring 
in August and December. According to observations carried 
on dming four j^ears, the annual rain-fall averaged 93 inches. 
The tolerably regular distribution of the rain throughout the 
year impai^ts to the vegetation a freshness that makes the 
change of seasons pass almost unheeded. 

In Singapore as elsewhere the members of the Novara Ex- 
pedition experienced from all classes of society the most 
cordial and hospitable reception. Every one bestirred him- 
self to point out to us everything that was worth knowing, 
or that the city could present of interest or deserving 
special attention. After a cursory stroll through the most 
frequented streets, with their dense crowds of people, which 
sufficiently proved to us that trade was in fact the chief occu- 
pation of the inhabitants, we turned our attention to the shops 
of some of the Mahometan merchants, when our eyes were 
dazzled with all the most vaiious products of India. 

In one of these we were shown some exceedingly valuable 
diamonds from Borneo, one of which weighed 17 carats, and 
was worth £4000 sterling, while another of 19 carats, but less 

1^2 Voyage of the Novara. 

pure and brilliant, was for sale for £2000. The seller, a 
Mahometan, himself wore on his finger a diamond-ring which 
our companion estimated at £1000. In the stores of several 
other merchants we saw the Malay servants sitting cross- 
legged on the bare floor of the porch, with huge heaps of 
Spanish dollars before them, which they were busy counting. 
The Spanish or Mexican dollar is here almost the only 
medium of exchange, payments being made all but exclu- 
sively in that currency, whereas gold, even English, is but 
sparingly used, and then with ill-concealed reluctance ! 
The utter want of any other recognized medium of exchange 
than silver makes all extensive money transactions exceed- 
ingly onerous, owing to the expense of transmitting the 
precious metals, in consequence of which any one wishing 
to pay in a certain sum of a few thousand dollars in cash, 
must employ a convoy for the purpose of transporting the 
money !* 

Although, as already remarked, the chief business of the 
island is purely commercial, and although, ordinarily speak- 
ing, every branch of industry merges in that predominant 
occupation, there is yet one manufacture in Singapore which 
calls for most special notice. This consists in the preparation 

* A similar system prevails to this day throughout Hindostan, where the necessity 
for convoy of specie forms one of the most important items of expense in the main- 
tenance of local police, outlying military stations, &c. And unfortunately such a policy 
reacts upon the respect of the natives for British rule, for seeing that even the 
government requires such convoys, they natm-ally presume that government feels itself 
insecure, and hence refuse to co-operate in the development of Indian resources. 

The Penel Sago of commerce and its Manufacture. 153 

of j^oarl, or white sago, from the raw state, which is brought 
from the N.E. coast of Smuatra, and the N.W. coast of 
Borneo. Ahnost the whole of the sago of commerce is 
prepared here, and all but exclusively by Chinese labour. 
Sago is chiefly obtained from the pith of several species of 
palm, but more particularly from the Sagus Rumphii and the 
Sagiis Laevii., both of which are rather limited in their area 
of cultivation, and are not, like the cosmopolitan cocoa-nut 
palm, found in every quarter of the tropical zone, both in the 
Old and New World, but are indigenous to the Indian Archi- 
pelago alone. The trunk of the sago-palm, when felled, is 
a cylinder of about 20 inches in diameter, and from 15 to 
20 feet in length, which, when the woody fibres have been 
separated, contains about 700 lbs of clear fine fecula. One 
may form some conception of its extraordinary productive- 
ness on learning that three sago-palms contain as much 
nutritious matter as an acre of land grown with wheat ! 
One piece of ground of the extent of an English acre planted 
with sago-palms occasionally yields 313,000 lbs of sago, or 
as much food as 163 acres of wheat. The sago however is 
neither as palatable nor as nutritious as it is productive, and 
nowhere, where rice is in common use, will it be displaced 
by this article of food. We visited the largest sago manu- 
facture in Singapore, in which the sago, as it comes in the 
raw state from Borneo and Smnatra, is washed and roasted, 
when it becomes the pearl sago of commerce. The quantity 
thus prepared annually amounts to about 100,000 cwt. 

154 Voyage of the Novara. 

Singapore was also the first 2:>lace where we found an oppor- 
tunity of becoming acquainted with opium-smokers, and of 
observing the noxious effects of this custom, which was forced 
ujion the Chinese for the purpose of compelling commercial 
relations. Although in almost every street in Singapore 
there are houses in which oj)ium is sold and can be smoked 
(the so-called '' Licensed opium shops"), there is, in order to 
keep more control over it, only one single place where the 
opium is prepared for smoking from the raw material, called 
by the English the ^' Opium farm," from which all retail 
dealers must purchase their sujoplies of stock. 

Before describing our visit to this curious factory we shall 
indulge in a few observations upon a plant whose intoxicating, 
poisonous milky sap produces such singular effects upon the 
human system. The poppy [papaver somnifermn\ is chiefly 
grown in Hindostan in the districts of Benares, Patna, and 
Malwa. Its cultivation is exceedingly arduous, and very 
precarious, since the tender young plants require constant 
care and attention in the w^ay of repeated watering, as well 
as weeding and turning up the soil, besides which there is 
the ever-present danger of its destruction by insects, or its 
loss through storm, or hail, or untimely rains. The plant 
blooms in the month of February, and three months later the 
seed is ripe. The incision into the capsule however is made 
three or four weeks earlier, so soon, in short, as it is covered 
with a fine white mealy dust. The instrument employed in this 
operation has three prongs with very sharp points, with 

The " Opium Farm ''"'at Singapore. 155 

wliicli the 2)lant is carefully scratched. Each plant is thus 
tapped for three consecutive days, the operation beginning 
with the first warm beams of the morning sun ; the milky 
sap is scraped off in the cool of 'the next morning, and on the 
fourth morning each plant is again tried as to whether it still 
exudes sap, but usually it proves to have been exhausted. 
The juice as scraped off in its coagulated form, is put into a 
cask along wdth linseed oil, in order not to get too quickly dry, 
and then is made by hand-kneading into round flat cakes, of 
about foul' pounds' weight, and about five inches in diameter, 
which, enveloped in poppy and tobacco leaves, are spread 
out to dry in earthen dishes, till ready for purposes of com- 
merce. Ill this stage the opirnn is packed in boxes of ten 
cakes or about 40 lbs,"and thus passes from the hands of the 
grower or the speculator at certain fixed prices into those of 
the agents of the East India Company. The very anxious 
and precarious cultivation of the poppy must prove far less 
remunerative to the proprietor of the land than the much 
easier task of raising tobacco or sugar-cane, and it is only the 
long-established but most impoverishing system of payments 
in advance, pursued by the agents of the East India Company, 
that keeps the Hindoos engaged in opium cultivation.* 

At the opium farm in Singapore we saw this same coagu- 
lated juice, as obtained from the poppy, converted into opium 

* The net produce of an acre of land grown with poppy amounts to about 20 or 30 
rupees, producing about 30 lbs of opium. The oil extracted from the seed-vessels 
of the plant gives a return of from 2 to 3 rupees per acre. 

156 Voyage of the Novara. 

suitable for smoking, which is called chandu, the process 
consisting in its being exposed to the action of heat in large 
semicircular brass panSj strained through filters, and once more 
exposed to a low heat, until it finally coagulates into a con- 
sistency strongly resembling treacle or syrup. The whole 
manipulation occupies from four to five days. A cattie or 
ball of this thickened poppy-juice costs the manufacturer 
about 20 dols. From ten such balls of the raw sap, or about 
40 lbs, which is the usual weight of each '' chest," as imported 
from Hindostan, 216 "tiles" or about 18 lbs of opium are 
obtained upon an average. We saw the Chinese dealer place in 
one of the scales a Spanish dollar, instead of a regular weight, 
and measure off a corresponding weight of opium in the 
other. A Chi, weighing about i^ oz., the ordinary quantity 
consumed by an opium-smoker, costs 17J cents, or nine-pence. 
The duty levied upon this manufacture gives the govern- 
ment a revenue of £3000 a month, for the exclusive right 
of preparing opium fit for smoking, chancUi, for consump- 
tion on the island. 

As often as the apparatus is called into activity, the Chinese 
employed in the preparation of the oj^ium, in pursuance of 
what seems with them a regular custom at the commence- 
ment of any spell of work, commit to the flames, after re- 
peating a certain set of formulas of prayer, a number of 
octavo-sized leaves (Tschni-tschni-soa) of paper printed upon 
one side only, and occasionally jjrovided in very large quanti- 
ties: on these fabrics of the roughest material are printed 

Chinese Ceremonies on preparing Chandu. 157 

sometimes prayers in Chinese, sometimes all kinds of draw- 
ings, intended to express the wishes of those making the 
offering, and which ordinarily represent in very sketchy out- 
line those objects which they pray their deities to bestow on 
them. In thus burning, in a copper vessel specially prepared 
for the purpose, not unlike the baptismal font in a Christian 
church, these small slij)s of paper, the Chinese operative be- 
lieves that his petition ascends to heaven as smoke, and so 
comes under the cognizance of his protecting gods. Simi- 
larly in all temples and pagodas, large quantities may be 
found stored away of these paper intercessors with the 
Chinese gods, intended for the use of believers, or rather of 
those who make profession of faith. 

The workmen of the oj^ium farm have a part of their 
wages paid in opium. The greater number are themselves 
opium-smokers, and thus are all the more surely attached to 
the manufactm-e. We saw a number of these fellows lying 
stretched out on straw mats, in wretched filthy-looking dens 
of rooms, with blue curtains barely concealing them from 
view, and the spirit-lamp placed conveniently near to enable 
them from time to time to heat the chandu^ the smoke of 
which they inhale through a peculiarly constructed pipe 
(^Yeu-tsiang). The quantity of opium taken up at each dip by 
the instrument used, a three-cornered, flat-headed sort of 
needle specially adapted for the purpose, is about the size of 
a pea. The practised opium-smoker holds his breath for a 
considerable time, and passes the smoke through the nostrils. 

158 Voyage of the Novara. 

The taste of the half-fluid juice of the poppy is sweetish and 
oily, but the odour of the chandu when heated, which one of 
the work-men addicted to smoking insisted on our regarding as 
one of the most valuable of perfumes, is so disagreeable as 
almost to cause nausea. We saw numbers of smokers, 
athwart the filthy gossamer-like curtains, utterly stuj^efied, 
and lying carelessly stretched out on the hard bedsteads, the 
pipe fallen out of their hands, and the lamp on the table in 
front of their couch extinguished. They, however, did not 
want the curtain for the purpose of preventing their beipg 
disturbed in the luxurious enjoyment of their beatific dreams; 
for they continued in a state resembling death itself, from 
which hardly anything could possibly rouse them so long as 
the effects of the poisonous drug lasted. Others of the 
smokers were so affected by it as to have utterly lost their 
senses, and seemed on the whole entirely indifferent to all 
that was passing around them. One of the workmen, who 
was in a high state of excitement, and was uncommonly 
talkative, informed us however that he had to smoke about 
one shilling's worth of opium ere he could feel its effect, that 
there was nothing more annoying or insupportable than mere 
partial stupefaction, when one had no more money where- 
with to buy opium so as to be able to get into a proper state 
of somnolence. The entire system at such times gets into a 
frightful state of irritation ; there is severe headache, a sensa- 
tion of pressure on the stomach, nausea, in a word all the ill- 

Statistics of Opium-smoJcing. 139 

effects of the use of opiuiii, without any of its more agreeable 
sensations. Tiie state of intoxication and drowsiness usually 
lasts from forty to sixty minutes, when consciousness gradu- 
ally returns, without any ill effects being experienced at the 
moment from the inhalation of the poison. 

In Singapore, where comparatively high wages are paid, 
and the Chinese population is the most numerous, the annual 
consumption of opium amounts to about 330 grains per head. 
In the Island of Java, where, in consequence of certain limits 
prescribed by government, the Chinese element amounts to 
but iToth of the entire population, the consumption is hardly 
forty grains per head. Even in China, where this perilous 
narcotic is consumed in such enormous quantities, the amount 
sold only indicates 140 grains for each smoker, which how- 
ever is chiefly attributable to the poverty of the populace, by 
whom this luxury is unattainable. Unfortunately we coidd 
get no reliable information as to the number of opium- 
smokers, and the quantity of opium consumed, in Singapore. 
Mr. Allen, a North American missionary, estimates the 
number of persons who surrender themselves to this practice 
throughout the Chinese Empire, at from 4—5,000,000, who 
annually consume about 50,000 chests of opium. The 
quantity consumed by each smoker daily varies in an ex- 
traordinary degree. At first the beginner cannot inhale 
above two or three grains at a time, but gradually, as he be- 
comes habituated, the dose increases, till the confirmed smokers 

1 60 Voyage of the Novara. 

consume as mucli as 100 grains daily ! ! Many Chinese spend 
two-thirds of their earnings in the purchase of this drug, 
which has become for them a necessity of life. 

The practice of eating opium in the form of pills, which 
prevails in every Mahometan country in the East, and has in 
a special degree been readily adopted by the disciples of the 
Koran, in consequence of the prohibition of wine, would 
seem, judging by the researches of physicians, to be much less 
injurious and much slower in aifecting the human system 
than smoking the opium, or otherwise bringing it directly in 
contact with the lungs, while the effects of the former 
practice is likewise different. 

We shall have an opportunity, when describing our stay in 
Chinese waters, to revert to this most remarkable and most 
profitable, but at the same time most iniquitous, monopoly of 
the (late) East India Company, which crushes millions of 
human beings in the most appalling and hopeless of all slave- 
ries, and against the continuance of which the Chinese go- 
vernment has repeatedly but ineffectually set its face. The 
words of the idol-worshipping Emperor of China, when in 
1840 he was solicited to convert the importation of opium 
into a source of revenue to the state, were worthy of a Christ- 
ian monarch : '^ It is true," said the Chinese ruler, "I cannot 
hinder the importation of this subtle poison ; infamous men 
in the lust for gain will out of covetousness or sensuality 
set at nought the fulfilment of my wishes ; — but they shall 

Noble Sentiment of an Emperor of China. 1 6 1 

never induce me to enrlcli myself by the vices and the 
wretchedness of my people I " 

Despite the very small proportion of Europeans resident 
in Singapore, and that almost the entire time of those few 
seems to be absorbed in business, there is nevertheless con- 
siderable intellectual activity. Several newspapers in the 
English language, among which the '' Singapore Free Press," 
edited by Mr. A. Logan, occupies the foremost rank, supply 
information as to all that is worth knowing in every part of 
the East Indies, while the "Journal of the Indian Arclii- 
peliigo," which has been for many years so ably and care- 
fully conducted by the well-known and widely -famous J. H. 
Logan (brother of the editor of the "Press"), is a veritable 
mine of information for the naturalist, who wishes to make 
tlie history of the Indian Archipelago and its inhabitants the 
object of his study. It contains exceedingly useful data for 
extending our knowledge of these very remarkable countries, 
susceptible as they are of such extraordinary development. 

The colony also boasts a Museum of Natural History ad- 
joining a library with several thousand volumes, and a reading- 
room, co^Diously supplied with newspapers and periodicals, 
the whole forming what is called the " Singapore Institution." 
This enterprise was founded by shares of -10 dollars each, 
and is supported by an annual subscription of 24 dollars 
by each member, which confers the privilege of using the 
well-selected library of books, and a great number of English 
and French papers and periodicals. The small ethnographic 

1 62 Voyage of the Novara. 

collection consists chiefly of specimens from Borneo, Sumatra, 
and the adjoining islands. 

Among: the educational institutions most deservino^ of 
attention and recognition must be specially noticed the 
school for the instruction of Malay boys and girls, under the 
management and preceptorship of that most deserving mis- 
sionary, Mr. B. P. Keasberry, who has pursued a career of 
useful activity in this Archipelago during thirty years past. 
The parents of the children taken in here have to contribute 
to their support, and to leave them there for at least ten years, 
under the affectionate spiritual care of the missionary, and 
must not remove them till after the expiry of that period. 
This condition was rendered necessary by the fickleness of the 
Malay natm^e, which otherwise would frequently withdraw 
the children from the supervision of the missionary at the 
very moment when they were beginning to become amenable 
to the influences of instruction in Christianity and civilization. 
The Institution is supported partly by voluntary contribu- 
tions, partly by the profits of a printing business, in which, 
however, hardly anything is printed except educational and 
religious works in the Malay language. Mr. Keasberry was 
so kind as to present us with a small collection of the works 
thus published during the past year, comprising among others 
a dictionary of the English and Malay languages, the New 
Testament, a volume of Natural History, a Manual of Geo- 
graphy, a Universal History, a Biblical History, and numer- 
ous educational works in Malay for the use of the pupils. 

Police Court of Singapore. 1 63 

In the course of a visit we paid to the Police Court we had 
the pleasm-e of becoming acquainted with Mr. Windsor Carl, 
the well-known author of numerous valuable works relating 
to the Indian Archipelago and the Papuan Negroes, a gentle- 
man whose career in life has been of the strangest, at present 
holding the position of magistrate in Singapore, where his 
great experience and his thorough acquaintance with the 
Malay language must be of the utmost service to government. 
The audience assembled in the Court room, in which only 
causes under 50 Rs. are tried, consisted for the most part of 
Chinese. Almost all the officials, clerks, inspectors, and po- 
licemen were coloured. In one month 414 causes came on 
for trial, of which 315 were disposed of by the imposition on 
the culprits of fines amounting in the aggregate to 5975 Rs., 
but of this sum only 5105 Rs. were realized. The largest 
number of sentences are passed in March, because the Chinese 
celebrate the New Year on the first day of that month, and 
accordingly the largest number of cases of assault, &c., occur 
at that period. The police employes registered in that period 
above 100 cases of transgressions of the law. The New Year 
is however, as must be remembered, the solitary festival 
which John Chinaman takes out of his appointed work, since 
recognizing as they do neither Sunday nor feast-day they 
continue hard at work for all the rest of the year. The ma- 
jority of decisions refer to prohibited games ; and whoever 
knows the inextinguishable love of the Chinese populace for 
spending their time in gambling, will readily comprehend 

M 2 

1 64 Voyage of the Novara. 

how in a single year there occurred above 2000 cases in which 
the law was violated. While we were in the justice-room, a 
paper was handed in to the presiding magistrate, in which an 
English sailor, at that moment in hospital, urgently requested 
that he might leave the same, inasmuch as he felt Jio longer 
sure of his life, owing to the numbers daily brought thither 
to die of cholera. In fact the hospital, and the localities 
adjacent, seemed to be the spots most seriously visited by the 
pestilence, so that the prayer of the petitioner to be removed 
from that neighbom-hood was not altogether unfounded. 

One highly interesting establishment, deserving of universal 
imitation, is the penal colony for criminals sentenced to trans- 
portation for life from all parts of India, and known as " The 
Convict Settlement." In order to comprehend the object 
and tendency of this institution, it seems necessary to premise 
certain remarks upon the political relation of Singapore to 
India at large. Singapore in conjunction with the colony of 
Malacca, w^hicli gives its name to the entire ^^eninsula, and 
the island of Penang, including the district of Wellesley, form 
that range of British settlements in the Straits of Malacca 
which is usually known to the English as '' The Straits Settle- 
ments." Up to quite a recent date, these colonies, founded 
almost exclusively in the interests of British commerce, were 
under the authority of the Indian government, and were in 
fact controlled from Calcutta. To the Directors of the East 
India Company, however, these settlements, of whose future 
destiny the motlier country has hitlierto taken but little heed. 

Remarks on the " Convict Settlement." 165 

notwithstanding their enormous political and commercial im- 
portance, appeared to be specially adapted as a place for 
maintaining common criminals, as also the more dangerous 
class of political offenders, and accordingly converted these 
settlements into penal colonies for the Indies, of which that 
of Singapore is the most important. 

The director of this institution. Captain M'Nair, had 
the kindness to accompany the members of the Novara 
expedition through the extensive buildings, for the most 
part only one storey high, but well adapted for this pm-pose, 
and to fm'nish us with much information on the various 
particulars and special matters of interest relating to the 
establishment. Ever since the year 1854, the wretched, 
confined, wooden huts thatched with straw, in which up to 
that period the unfortunate criminals were confined, have 
been removed, and in their stead lofty, airy, good-sized apart- 
ments have been substituted. At the period of our visit in 
April 1858, there were over 2000 transported for life, and 245 
sentenced to various terms of from five to ten years, confined 
here. All the public buildings of the island, churches, hospi- 
tals, barracks, works in the streets, sometimes constructions 
of a most expensive nature, were executed throughout by 
criminals. After sixteen years' good conduct, the prisoner 
was entitled to a ''ticket of leave," authorising him to settle 
within the jurisdiction of the island as a free colonist, coupled 
with the condition of presenting himself once a month before 
the superintendent of the settlement. In case of bad conduct, 

1 66 Voyage of the Novara. 

or failure, or irregularity in fulfilling such stij)ulations, these 
concessions are revoked. All the overseers of the convict 
settlement, who receive monthly pay at the rate of fi^om one 
to two dollars, are prisoners who have already given proof of 
their desire to return to a better mode of life, and it is well 
worth remark, that the 2000 convicts, consisting for the most 
part of the very dregs of the various Indian races, and con- 
demned for grave crimes to perpetual imprisonment, are 
under the charge of a single white turnkey, and by him 
maintained in perfect order and propriety of demeanour. 
Besides this one official there is only a small detachment of 
Indian soldiers, from twelve to fi.fteen in number, stationed 
at the settlement as a measure of precaution. The best evi- 
dence of the excellent system on which this institution is 
administered, will be found in the published reports of its 
health, from which it appears that of the 2000 there confined, 
there were but forty sick at the very period when the cholera 
was committing such terrific ravages in the town among the 
poorer classes, and the change of the monsoon had been 
accompanied by great sickness and general unhealthiness. 
The convicts go to work at six every morning, and return to 
the barracks about 4 p. m., the rest of the day being spent in 
preparing their victuals, consisting of rice, vegetables, cayenne- 
pepper, and fruit. As most of those confined are Hindoos 
and profess Brahminism, they bathe several times a day, in a 
large tank filled with excellent water. This wise religious 
custom must in such a sultry climate conduce in a marked 

Arrangements of the " Convict Settlement r 167 

degree to the preservation of their health, by its beneficial 
and refreshing action upon the frame. 

Some of the convicts are also employed in manufacturing 
cordage, ropes, twine, &c., of the fibres of the wild plantain 
{MuBa textilis)^ the Rame-shrub [Boehmeria nivea\ and the 
wild pine-apple [Bromelia Ananas or Ananassa Sativa). All 
these textures are of excellent quality, and possess all the 
best properties of Russian hemp-fabrics, at a considerable 
reduction of cost. 

In the dormitories the convicts are not classified by nation- 
alities as during the labours of the day, but according to the 
nature of the ofi*ences for which they are incarcerated, so that 
in one division all the thieves are together, in another all the 
homicides, in a third all those convicted of arson, &c. Al- 
though from a psychological point of view much might be 
urged against the judiciousness of such a system, yet, as we 
were informed, this method of confinement by classification of 
offences exercises no prejudicial effect upon the moral ameli- 
oration of the convicts, but on the contrary most enco^u'aging 
results have been observed to arise from its operation. Among 
others we were told of a Hindoo from the Malabar coast, a 
convict for life, who after sixteen years' confinement received 
permission to settle on the island as a free colonist. By 
industry, ability, and some fortunate speculations, this man 
in the course of years acquired a large fortune. He now felt 
an intense yearning to revisit his own home, and expressed his 
willingness to present a large portion of his newly acquii-ed 

1 68 Voyage of the Novara. 

wealth for sucli a permission. But the law was explicit upon 
this point. Only a free pardon from the Governor-general of 
India can as a rule avail to make such an exception, which 
is of but rare occurrence. This he actually succeeded in ob- 
taining after repeated suj)plications, and this '' fortunate un- 
fortunate" was at last permitted to return to his longed-for 
home. It is worth noting that of the 2245 prisoners, only 
fifty are of the female sex, chiefly Hindoo women from 
Bengal. Among those imprisoned while we were there, we 
remarked three white men, who had been sentenced to several 
months' confinement for riotous conduct and drunkenness. 
Surrounded as they were by these bronzed half- savage 
Hindoo offenders, these men made a doubly painful impres- 
sion upon Europeans. 

As the prevalence of disease in the town and harbour 
made it especially desirable that we should as speedily as 
possible change our quarters, in order not to be surprised by 
a visit on board from a guest so formidable, we made all 
possible efforts to complete with the utmost dispatch the 
revictualling of the ship, and transact whatever other business 
was necessary. For this purpose we were recommended in 
several quarters to employ a Chinese merchant, whose name 
is already favourably mentioned by Commodore Wilks on the 
occasion of his visiting Singapore in 1842. This was Wliam- 
poa, a ship-cliandler, who indeed in similar departments of 
trade carries on by no means insignificant competition with 
the long-established English firms. His business is unques- 

Employ Whampoa. — His excellent An^angements. 169 

tionably the most extensive in this line in Singapore, and 
fui-nishes a striking example of what Chinese industry, econo- 
my, and perseverance are capable of. Immense quantities of 
provisions and ship-stores are accumulated in his extensive 
warehouses, so that he can supply orders to any extent in an 
incredibly short space of time. Within two days, Wham- 
poa had completely victualled the ship for six months, 
besides supplying her from the adjoining stream with 100 
tons of good water, which was brought alongside in boats 
specially constructed for the purpose, and thence pumped 
through hose into the iron water-tanks in the hold, an opera- 
tion which in any European port would have taken thrice the 
time required here. Moreover all the articles supplied by 
Whampoa were of the best quality, and proportionally 
moderate in price. He employs none but Chinese, with long 
tails, and black silk apparel. All the books are kept in the 
Chinese language, and even the additions and subtractions 
are not made in the European method, but by the Chinese 
counting board, that is, by shifting a number of wooden beads 
or rings, which run in different rows, and have a variet}^ of 
values. This reckoning-board consists of an oblong frame, 
divided in its length by a partition into unequal divisions, 
in the larger of which are hung'five, in the smaller two, beads 
upon metal cross wires. Each wire with the seven beads 
running upon it constitutes a single row, and in each such 
row, a single bead of the smaller division is equal in value to 
the five corresponding beads in the larger compartment ; 

1 70 Voyage of the Novara. 

while, just as in the Russian reckoning-board, eacli row 
represents a value ten-fold greater or less with reference to 
the two arms adjoining it on either side. On the Chinese 
board the number of cross wii^es is not always the same, but 
depends upon the extent of the calculations intended to be 
made upon it.* 

Accordingly when a Chinese wishes to make a calculation 
upon his reckoning-board, he lays it crosswise before him, with 

the large compartment next himself, pushes the beads of the 
two divisions to the edge of the frame, whence, as the process 
of calculation may require, he shifts them into the middle 
against the partition-wire, or pushes them back again. In 

* Among the valuable contributions of the Russian Embassy to Pekin, respecting 
China, its people, its religion, its political institutions, its social peculiarities, &c., 
there is one long and very copious treatise upon the Chinese reckoning-board, and 
the method of using it. See the German translation of the work by Dr. Karl Abel, 
and F. T. Mecklenburg. Berlin, F. Heinicke, 1856, vol. i. p. 295. 

Method of reckoning in China. 1 7 1 

tlic former case the beads are said to ''count on tlie board," 
in the latter to be " off the board." Consequently, in order 
to have 1, 2, 3, and 4 "counting," a corresponding number of 
beads in the larger compartment must be pushed away 
from himself till they reach the partition; to mark 5, he 
similarly draws towards himself a bead in the smaller com- 
partment, and as 6, 7, 8, and 9 are formed by the addition of 
5 and 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively, these will be marked by 
adding one bead from the lesser compartment to the requisite 
number of beads in the greater. The tens are indicated by 
the beads of the next wii'e to the left ; the hundreds by the 
next again to that, &c. 

Within his own house, Whampoa lives entirely in the Eu- 
ropean fashion. Plentifully blessed with this world's goods, 
he displays a degree of luxury such as we are unaccustomed 
to see save in the most elevated circles of society. One of 
his properties, which is several miles in circumference, has a 
spacious, elegantl}'' furnished mansion with a splendid colon- 
nade, a beautiful flower-garden, and a perfect menagery of use- 
ful domestic animals. Within the house all the arrangements 
are European, with the exception of the oval doors, com- 
municating between the great saloon and the ante-chambers, 
which are pushed into the wall on either side, and have a 
very surprising effect. In the evening, especially when the 
saloon is illuminated, if a person passes through this oval 
entrance, the effect is as of a life-size portrait set in a golden 
frame. It would not be a bad idea to introduce this Chinese 

172 Voyage of the Novara. 

form of door-way into our European residences and country- 
seats, and it is assuredly not the only improvement in the 
decorative art wliich we could borrow with advantage from 
the Chinese. Whampoa's own favourite habitation is about 
four miles outside the town, and presents a curious admixture 
of European comfort and taste with Chinese notions of orna- 
ment. In the saloons, adorned with a quantity of neat fancy 
ornaments, are suspended from the walls verses and pro- 
verbs of the most renowned Chinese poets, all vn^itten on 
long elegantly illustrated rolls of paper. Our host also 
showed us a variety of objects which had been presented to 
him by foreign ship-captains, officers of the navy, and even 
singers, as the late Mrs. Catherine Hayes Bushnell, whom he 
had shown much attention to. A banquet, to which we 
were invited by this hospitable Chinese to meet a number of 
the most prominent commercial magnates of the colony, was 
served entirely in the European style. The viands were 
cooked by a Chinese cook, in the English and French styles, 
only the dessert came part from Japan, part from China, and 
consisted of a variety of fruits, which were utterly unknown 
to the eye and the palate of the European guests. Our 
Chinese host seemed quite at home in doing the honours. 
Although outwardly a Chinese of the most orthodox stamp, 
with shaven head, (except the long tail reaching almost to the 
earth,) and his body robed in a black silken stuff, he drank to 
each of his guests in good old English style, and seemed as 

A Dinner at Whampoa's. — Fatal Accident. 1 73 

little afraid of Sherry as of Champagne. Indeed, we even 
had toasts, in the course of which this Chinese friend to 
foreigners remarked in English, that any amelioration of the 
present critical condition of his native land, can only be 
effected by the progressive influence of the British govern- 
ment. Whampoa is in all probability the first Chinese who 
has sent his son to Europe. 

On the very last day of our stay in Singapore, a melancholy 
accident occurred on board. One of our sailors named Rossi, 
while unbending a sail for the purpose of repair, fell from 
the fore-yard on the forecastle, where he lay insensible, and 
died a few hours afterwards. Latterly repeated instances 
had occurred at short intervals, of the sailors, while work- 
ing at various elevations, losing hold and falling on deck, 
but none of these had had such a tragical result as the pre- 
sent, and a few slight injuries was all the penalty the sufferers 
received for their carelessness. Singularly enough, such ac- 
cidents mostly occur to the able seamen, because that class 
usually feel themselves as secure while resting on the foot- 
ropes, and working among the masts and sails, as on the 
ground itself, and from their carelessness come much more 
frequently to grief, than their comrades less experienced in 
manoeuvring among the cordage. Rossi was reverently com- 
mitted to the earth in the Catholic burying-ground of Singa- 
pore, and arrangements were at the same time made for the 
erection of a small grave-stone over his distant resting-place, 

174 Voyage of the Novara. 

informing the visitors to this '' Court of Peace," that below 
reposes a member of the Novara Expedition, who had lost his 
life in the discharge of his duties. 

As we were now at the season of the change of monsoon, 
at which period the always difficult navigation of the narrow 
seas between Singapore and Batavia demands an unusual 
degree of carefulness, in consequence of frequent squalls, we 
engaged a pilot, who for a stipulated sum of 175 dollars was 
to convoy us to the next station on our voyage. Captain 
Burrows, as our pilot was named, had the reputation of being 
a specially competent, thoroughly trustworthy person, who 
for a long period had navigated these waters in his own ship, 
and, as we were informed, had, owing to some unfortunate 
speculations, been compelled to become a pilot of other vessels, 
after having for years sailed in command of his own ship. 
He had already come on board with his traps, but, as wind 
and tide were both unfavourable, he obtained permission to 
return to shore till sunset. This however the pilot did not 
do, and on the following morning, finding he did not come 
off despite our signals, we set sail without him about 9 a. m. 
with favourable wind and tide. No one could account for 
the default of a pilot so strongly recommended on all hands, 
particularly as all his baggage had remained on board, and 
must now of course make the voyage to Batavia. For a 
moment ,we conjectured that he had immediately on landing 
been seized by the dread distemper, only it seenied im- 
probable we should not have been informed of such a catas- 

Sail without Pilot. — Pass outside the Rhio Islands. 175 

troplio. And in fact it afterwards appeared that his having 
missed us was entirely due to his own inattention. 

We at first had intended to pass through the narrow strait 
of Rliio,* by which the route is materially shortened, but as 
the squally weather had fairly set in, while the breeze had 
crept round to the S.E., and the tide set strong to the north- 
wards, we abandoned this plan, and decided on sailing 
through the channel between Horsburgh light-house and 
Bintang, so as to pass to the eastward of this island as far as 
Gaspar Straits, which however we only reached the following 
day, owing to light fitful breezes irom the northwards. So 
soon as we entered Gaspar Straits we found the sea, which 
is here of no great depth, never exceeding 25 fathoms, partly 
covered with trunks of trees and seaweed, while the water 
had lost its transparency and was of a dirty green colour. 

At 10 A. M. of the 25th April, we crossed the equator for 
the third time, and the same day about 11 p. m. were in 
sight of the rocky island of Tothy, a rain squall Jfrom the 
N.E. blowing at the time. We passed between this island 
and the dangerous because invisible Vega Rock, just 
below the surface of the sea, and found ourselves in an 
archipelago of islands and shoals requii-ing the utmost vigil- 
ance in navigating ships of large size. But the moon, " the 
seaman's friend," shone brightly at night, and the well- 
known transparency of the air in tropical countries enabled us 

* The Rhio group of islands is about 50 miles S.E. of Singapore, the most im- 
portant of which is Bintang, with a town of the same name. 

176 Voyage of the Novara. 

even during the hours of darkness to make out with perfect 
distinctness islands lying 25 to 30 miles distant, so that we 
were by these means, coupled with occasional casts of the 
lead, enabled on every occasion to make out with sufficient 
exactness at what point we had arrived. We were so lucky as 
to have never once tlu"Oughout this intricate navigation been 
compelled to cast anchor (as is so frequently the case here), 
and thus succeeded in overhauling in Gaspar Straits more 
than one merchantman, that was a far better sailer than the 

On 30th April in 2<' 48' S., and 107° 16' E., we celebrated 
the anniversary of our departure from Trieste, with hearts 
filled with gratitude to the illustrious projector of an expedi- 
tion devoted to such lofty aims. 

Although during our stay in Singapore the cholera had 
not alone carried off its victims in the town, but also in the 
harbour, especially in the screw-corvette Niger^ anchored in 
our immediate vicinity, which lost at the rate of about a 
man daily till she changed her moorings, and ultimately, 
had to put to sea (which under such circumstances gives 
hope from the very first for a change for the better in the 
requisite sanitary conditions for restoring to health), yet 
the crew of the Novara seemed destined to escape the slight- 
est evil effects from our six days' stay in this plague-stricken 
harbour. But the result did not justify these expectations. 
Five days after our departure from Singapore, just as we 

Oidhrcak of Cholera on Board. 177 

were cntcrlnfT- Gaspar Straits, one of tlie sliip's boys fell ill 
with all the symptoms of the Asiatic pestilence, and two 
days after the man appointed to attend him was similarly 
seized. Every necessary precaution was taken, the crew 
were kept as much as possible on deck, the band played fre- 
quently, in order to keep up cheerfulness, and thus by great 
good fortune the malady was confined to the two individuals 
seized. The attendant ere long recovered, but the lad, after 
the choleraic symptoms had subsided, gradually fell into a 
typhoid state, under which, despite the utmost medical skill, 
he succumbed on the afternoon of May 4th. Owing 
to the rapidity with which decomposition sets in in organic 
structm'es in these hot latitudes, it was at once arranged that 
the body should be committed to the deep the same evening. 
It was the first occasion throughout the voyage that we had 
to perform this sad but most impressive ceremony. The 
officers and crew mustered on the deck. The body wrapped 
in an ensign lay upon a platform, close to the man-ropes on 
the starboard side. The chaplain prayed over the cor23se of 
one so young, about to rest in the bosom of ocean far from 
friends and family, after which there was a dull hollow 
sound; the sea had got his prey, the waves closed with 
sullen glee over their booty, — and all was over ! 

In the course of the passage we also celebrated a funeral 
service on board for Austria's great, never-to-be-forgotten 
commander. Field-marshal Radetzky, of whose death we had 


178 Voyage of the Novara. 

shortly before been apprized. As far as circumstances ad- 
mitted, everything was done to celebrate tliis solemn duty 
in a befitting manner. 

Several times during this part of our voyage, owing to the 
slight depth, averaging only 14 fathoms, of the Gaspar Strait, 
we observed sea-snakes basking on the surface of the sea, 
and letting the waves roll them lazily forward, several of 
which, about four feet long, were caught in a common insect- 

At last, on the afternoon of May 5, we anchored in the 
roads of Batavia, in 6| fathoms, mud bottom. The aspect 
of the roads, especially in bad weather, is rather melancholy, 
the coast being low and swampy, and densely covered with 
mangrove-bushes, through which glittered a portion of the red- 
tiled roofs of the lower ancient city of Batavia, now abandoned 
on account of its insalubrity. Under a more cheerful sky the 
country round would of course assume a more agreeable and 
even imposing appearance, when the outline of the gigantic 
volcanoes of Java come into view in the background, with 
their heavenward towering peaks, partly covered with snow, 
permitting us to form some faint conception of the prodigality 
of Nature in this, the most beautiful island of the Malay 

In the roads of Batavia we found much less bustle and ani- 
mation than one could anticipate, considering the favourable 
situation and immense importance of the place. A short dis- 
tance from us lay the Dutch frigate Palemhang, carrying the 

Arrival at Batavia. — Contrast with Singapore. lycf 

flag of a Vice-admiral, and the steam-corvette Groningcn, be- 
sides wliicli we counted some sixty foreign merchantmen, 
and over a hmidi-ed native boats and coasting vessels. This 
rather small evidence of commercial activity is the more 
noticeable when one has just come from the free port of Singa- 
pore, where several hundred ships are always lying at anchor, 
sporting the flags of every sea-faring nation, without taking 
account of the almost innumerable Chinese and Malay coast- 
ers, trading between Singapore and the other islands of the 
Sunda Archipelago. Moreover, there are here no small boats 
plying to and fro, because the communications between the city 
and the roadstead being over a space requiring an hour and 
a half to traverse, the transit is necessarily dear, and remains 
therefore confined within as small limits as possible. For a 
small boat with two rowers from the roads to the landing- 
place the charge is from four to five florins {Qs. Sd. to 8s. 4:d.), 
and 3^ florins (5s. 10c/.) more for a vehicle to transport them 
to the town. For this reason no artisans, trades-people, or 
washerwomen will come off" to where the shipping is at an- 
chor, to take orders — every commission of whatever nature 
must be executed in the city itself. Here we lay at anchor, 
an Austrian frigate, surely a most unwonted visitant, from 
the afternoon till the following morning without one single 
boat coming off to visit us ! 

N 2 

Stay pbom 5th to 29th Mat, 1858. 

Old and New Batavia. — Splendid reception. — Scientific societies. 
— Public institutions. — Natives. — -A Malay embassy. — Excur- 
sion into the interior. — Buitenzorg. — The Botanic Garden. — The 
Negro. — Prince Aquasie Boachi. — Pondok Gedeh. — The in- 
firmary at Gadok, and Dr. Bernstein. — Megamendoeng. — Java- 
nese villages. — Tjipannas. — ^Ascent of Pangerango. — Forest 
scenery. — Javanese resting-hoiises or Pasanggrahans. — Night 
and morning on the summit of the volcano. — Visit to Gunung 
Gedeh. — The plantations of Peruvian b;u*k-trees in Tjipodas. — • 
Their actual condition. — Conjectures as to the future. — Voyage 
to Bandong. — Spots where edible swallows'-nests are found. — Hospitable reception 
by a Javanese prince.— Visit to Dr. Junghuhn in Lembang. — Coffee cultivation. — 
Decay in value of the coflfee bean of Java. — Professor Vriese and the coffee planters 
of Java. — Free trade and monopoly. — Compulsory and free labour. — Ascent of the 
volcano of Tangkuban-Prahu. — Poison Crater and King's Crater. — A geological ex- 
cursion to a portion of the Preanger Regency. — Native fete given by the Javanese 
Regent of Tjiangoer. — A day at the Governor-general's country-seat at Buitenzorg. 
— Return to Batavia. — Ball given by the military club in honour of the Novara. — 
Raden Saleh, a Javanese artist. — Barracks and prisons. — Meester Cornells. — French 
opera. — Constant changes among the Eiu-opean society. — Aims of the colonial go- 
vernment. — Departure from Batavia. — Pleasant voyage. — An English ship with 
Chinese Coolies. — Bay of Manila. — Arrival in Cavite harbour. 

In order to get from the roadstead of Batavia to the ^' Stad 
Herberg," the sole landing-place for boats, distant some miles 

Unhealthy situation of Old Batavia. 1 8 1 

from the open sea, it is necessary to steer for some distance 
up the canal-like channel of the Tjiliwoeng (pronounced Chili- 
tvung) River. Old Batavia (Jacatra), built by the Dutch in 
1619, on an extremely swampy and most unhealthy spot, is 
at present entirely abandoned by the white population, and 
the numerous handsome edifices still standing there are now 
only used as warehouses, counting-houses, and offices gener- 
ally. Where in days of yore a hundred thousand human 
beings bustled to and fi'o, there are at present dwelling but a 
couple of thousand wretched, poverty-stricken Portuguese and 
Javanese. The Dutch in selecting such a site undoubtedly 
took their own Amsterdam for a model, and the houses were 
accordingly built as close as possible to each other, and 
several storeys high, a mode of building eminently unsuited 
to a tropical climate, and accordingly adding another element 
of insalubrity. The thick fog, which every evening at sun- 
down spreads over the city, situate as it is hardly above the 
level of the sea, is not only very injurious to Europeans, but 
proves quite frequently fatal, so that by 5 p.m. old Batavia 
assumes the appearance of a city of the dead, and a regular 
emigration takes place in waggons, on horseback, or on foot, 
to the more elevated and therefore more healthy parts of the 
town, to Ryswickj-Molenvliet, Weltevreden, &c., where dur- 
ing the last twenty years an entirely new and very elegant 
settlement has sprung up. Handsome villas rise amid the 
blooming fragrant gardens, and everything is arranged in 
accordance with the requirements of a tropical climate ; and 

1 82 Voyage of the Novara. 

of an evening, when the low verandahs and beautifully 
furnished drawing-rooms of these airy, well-ventilated man- 
sions are profusely lit up, and filled with a gaily-di*essed 
social circle, while numbers of equipages, carrying torches, flit 
through the wide streets, the whole scene has quite a fairy- 
land appearance. The gloom without makes the dazzling 
brightness within-doors still more marked, and renders the 
law a perfect boon, by which no native, so soon as it becomes 
dark, is permitted to walk tlu^ough the streets unless he carries 
a lighted torch (ohor). Owing to the distance intervening be- 
tween each house, Batavia, although numbering only 70,000 
inhabitants, apparently covers a larger area than Paris, and 
as the wealthy classes are concentrated in the upper quarters 
of the town, just as they are in the West End of London, it 
is there that one may see all that Batavia has to show of 
luxury, comfort, and elegance. The old haughty, aristocratic 
capital of the Netherland Indies, whose beauty once obtained 
for her the title of '' Queen of the East," is found here in 
more than pristine freshness, and not alone in wealth and 
splendour, but even in social stiffaess and pedantic eti- 
quette, vies with the most ultra-refined centres of fashion 
in Europe. 

The Novara had long been expected in Batavia, and 
months beforehand orders had been issued by the Governor- 
general to all the Dutch colonies in the East Indies, for the 
courteous reception of the Expedition, and energetically assist- 
ing its members. A German merchant from Celebes, whom 

Cordial Reception, — Visit the Museum. 1 83 

we happened to meet the day of our arrival, informed us that 
in Macassar the entii*e population had been for several months 
past looking for the arrival of the foreign man-of-war, and 
those on the look-out at the signal-station, as often as a large 
ship made its appearance on the horizon, were continually 
hoping that it might prove to be the long-expected visitor. 

All that the resources of a mighty and generous power, 
such as is that of Holland in Java, could fm^iish to make our 
short stay at the island as agreeable and instructive as 
possible was exhibited on the most lavish scale, and all that 
could be done to promote our objects in view by men of 
science, of which Java possesses a considerable number, and 
even some of Em'opean celebrity, was offered with the most 
praiseworthy alacrity. Several eminent scholars and natur- 
alists, headed by the renowned ichthyologist, Dr. Bleeker, 
who shortly before had been decorated with an Austrian 
order of merit for his valuable contributions to our knowledge 
of the natural history of the Sunda Islands, did the honours, 
so to speak, for the members of the scientific commission, of 
whom they became the constant companions. 

The very day we landed we visited the Museum, in the 
company of our new friends, where we found an extremely 
interesting and most valuable collection, principally of ethno- 
graphic objects. Here we saw idols of the palmy days of 
Buddhism, made of bronze and silver, beautifully carved, 
which came from the interior of Java, as also from Sumatra 
and the Engano Islands; clothes of the bark of trees, gar- 

184 Voyage of tlie Novara. 

ments of fish-scales, of a species of Scarus (probably Scarus 
Schlosserii), head-gear, armlets, and necklaces of the teeth of 
men and wild animals, richly adorned "creeses" or Malay 
daggers, lances and arrows of bamboo, whose iron heads were 
poisoned by a wash of arsenic mixed with lemon -juice ; a 
great variety of musical instruments, among which were 
specimens of the well-known and singular Gamelang, which 
consists of a row of bells of all sizes and tones, which are 
struck with slender pieces of bamboo, and makes a regular 
orchestra of bells. There was also a very singular-looking 
collection of parasols, which as used by the natives are em- 
blems of rank, and of which there are no less than thirty 
different kinds. Any one may carry a simple green, or blue, 
or black parasol, but those with gold thread or gold tassels 
are only permitted to be used by persons of a certain social 
standing, so that one may always know the social position of 
a Javanese by the parasol he carries, just as among the Chi- 
nese, rank is indicated by the number of peacock feathers, 
and tlie colour of the button on the bonnet. The higher the 
rank, tlie broader is the gilded fringe, so tliat the parasol of 
a Javanese prince of the liighest rank is all gold together, 
and when fully expanded consists of three parasols, one above 
the other, which open by one and the same movement. Most 
of these parasols, prepared from_ the leaves of the screw-pine, 
are imported hither from China. 

In one of the rooms is a statue of Durga, one of the god- 
desses of the old Hindoo mythology, moulded in metal, a pre- 

Ethiographic Museum and Library. l^^S 

sent from the Sultan of Surakarta in the centre of Java to one 
of the former governors of the island, who presented this fine 
specimen of native art to the Museum. A large number of 
Javanese and Sun da MSS., written on palm-leaves, have been 
placed by, and at the expense of, the government in the hands 
of Dr. Friedrich, a German philologist, to be deciphered and 
translated. In the same apartment we saw a large number of 
trachytes, with very beautiful sculptures and inscriptions, as 
also several figures from the island of Bali, quite modern in 
aspect, carved in wood and coarsely painted, representing 
some beautiful female figures ; other hideous caricatures, 
which are used by the natives as decorations of their house- 
hold altar, but without any religious significance being at- 
tached to them. The fact that these sculptures are no longer, 
as formerly, executed in stone, but are carved in wood, may 
be held to evidence the decay of this branch of art. A rather 
considerable craniological collection, comprising some 60 
heads of the various types of races inhabiting the Malay 
Archipelago and the adjoining continent, was in the most 
handsome manner presented to the Expedition, and must, 
considering the many difficulties which stand in the way of 
our acquiring correct scientific knowledge of this interesting 
question, especially among races inhabiting uncivilized coun- 
tries, be regarded as an exceedingly valuable addition to our 
collections of objects of natural history at home. 

The Ethnographic Museum and the library attached are, 
however, only branches thrown out by the indefatigable 

i86 Voyage of the Novara. 

activity of the oldest scientific society in Java, the Bataviaasch 
Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen, which, founded in 
1778 by the Europeans then resident in Batavia, has since that 
period pubhshed some thirty volumes of valuable statistics 'of 
the various objects of which it takes cognizance, and is in 
correspondence with upwards of 150 learned societies. Since 
1852 there has also appeared under the auspices of this 
Society, conducted by three members of the direction, Dr. 
Bleeker, Mr. Netscher, and Mr. Munnich, a monthly journal 
of Indian History, as also of physical and ethnog-raphic sta- 
tistics (the " Tijdsckrift voor Indische Taal Land en Volken- 
Jcunde''''), of which seven volumes have already appeared, 
published in 8vo. Not less valuable, especially in the in- 
terests of natural science, is the Association known as the 
" Natuurkundige Vereeniging^'' which has been in existence since 
1850, and, under the superintendence of that indefatigably 
active scholar Dr. Bleeker, has within that period published 
a considerable number of most interesting memoirs, while 
the Society for the advancementof Medical Science ( Vereeniging 
tot Bevordering der Geneeskundige Wetenschappen in Nederlandsch 
Indie), under the guidance of the distinguished Dr. Gr. Wassink, 
has given to the world through its annual publications a large 
variety of experiences and observations on the study of Medi- 
cine.* All these scientific institutions are the more deserving of 
commendation, when we reflect that there are but 6000 emi- 

* Several copies of these various publications of the different scientific societies 
of Java were presented to the Expedition by the members of these learned bodies. 

Changeable State of Scientific Inquiry. 187 

grants from Holland, scattered abroad throughout the Ncthcr- 
land Indies, of wliom only some 3000 are in Batavia, and 
that the white population is for the most part constantly 
changing. It is obvious this latter condition must have this 
prejudicial effect, that the various branches of scientific in- 
quiry cannot always enjoy a uniform degree of attention, 
and that the task of maintaining them in a proper degree 
of efficiency must depend almost exclusively upon the con- 
tinuance in office and constant attention of individuals. 
Owing to this frequency of change the active prosecution 
of scientific inquiry has undergone marked fluctuatioiis in 
Batavia, and while occasionally it was at the lowest ebb, 
so to speak, at another time, as happily was the case at the 
period of our visit, it presents, in the convergence of numer- 
ous powerful minds devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, 
the imposing spectacle of a strong set of public opinion 
towards intellectual enjoyment and cultivation. 

Accompanied by Dr. Bleeker the members of the Expe- 
dition visited several of the most interesting of the public 
institutions, the establishment of which reflects the greatest 
honoui' on the government, as well as the public-spirited 
individuals who projected them. The Military and Civil 
Hospital at Tjiliwoeng, or Great River, does not indeed pre- 
sent the palace-like appearance of the Misericordia Hospital 
at Rio, but the small neat buildings, one storey high, scat- 
tered among beautiful flower-gardens, and occupjdng a flat 
space of great extent, are kept scrupulously clean, and are 

1 8 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

arranged with great comfort. Six physicians are on duty 
here, and the most exemplary care and attention are be- 
stowed on patients. Officers and public servants wlio fall 
sick have, in particular, large, light, airy, elegantly furnished 
apartments ; other jjatients are received into lofty, well-ven- 
tilated, spacious halls, usually holding from 50 to 60 beds. 
Altogether the hospital can accommodate 600 patients. The 
most common diseases are dysentery, intermittent fever, and 
heart and liver complaints. Here we saw numerous cases 
of Beri-Beri (the Barbiers of English medical writers), that 
singular, usually incurable disease which begins with inter- 
mittent fever, and generally ends with paralysis of the spinal 
chord. In the year 1857, of 500 patients at Batavia no fewer 
than 348 were attacked with this frightful complaint, of 
whom 249 died within a brief space. In the medical section 
of the Novara publications will be found a complete account 
of this most interesting malady, which fortunately is very 
limited in its ravages, and hitherto has been almost ex- 
clusively confined to the natives. 

In one of the wards we were shown a Dutch sailor labour- 
ing under an asthmatic attack, whose hands and feet had 
been shockingly mutilated in 1846 by pirates in the Straits 
of Malacca. We also found among the patients several 
German sailors and soldiers, whose transports of joy were 
unmistakeable on hearing once more the sound of their na- 
tive language, and at the opportunity of conversing with a 

Expense of Building. — Javanese Medical School. 189 

The heavy expense of building in Batavia, and the anxious 
vigilance exercised over those of the community who are 
sick, will best be understood from the fact that one single 
new ward, making up from 60 to 80 beds, cost tlie govern- 
ment about 60,000 guiklers (£5000). One of the build- 
ings, at a little distance from the rest, is set apart for female 
invalids, as also for lunatics and sick prisoners. Attached 
to this hospital is a school of midwifery for the instruction 
of native women in obstetrics, which at the period of our 
visit was attended by sixteen women from various islands in 
the Malay Archipelago, and which, in a land where the birth 
of a child is accompanied by so many superstitious and 
hideous ceremonies, cannot fail to be followed by most 
beneficial results. 

One very important and useful establishment is the Java- 
nese medical school {Geneeskimdige School voor Inlanders), which, 
founded in 1851 by Mr. Bosch, at that period chief of the 
medical staff, is intended to supply the sons of the more 
prominent natives of Java and the adjacent islands with a 
thorough training in and acquaintance with the art of medi- 
cine as practised in Europe. Government defrays the travel- 
ling expenses of tliese youths, as also all expenses of main- 
tenance and education. Among the four-and-twenty scholars 
here, we saw sons of native princes of Java, Palembang, 
Celebes, Amboina, Ceram, Sumatra, and Borneo, who in- 
tended following up the profession ; and it is worthy of remark 
that two natives of Menado in the island of Celebes of the 

190 ' Voyage of the Novara. 

savage cannibal race of the Alfuras, were pointed out to us 
as among the most apt and docile of the scholars ! Those 
of the students who are Christians, are clothed in the dress 
of Europeans, the rest, chiefly Mahometans, wear Oriental 
attire. Instruction is imparted in Malay, since as a rule not 
one of the students on entering the college understands a 
word of Dutch. For the same reason the books usually 
employed in instruction cannot be made use of, while, owing 
to the poverty of the Malay language, any translation into 
it must be fraught with difficulty. All technical names are 
therefore converted into Latin. The course of instruction 
is carried on the first year in the class-room, the second 
by the bed-side of the patient, or the dead body. After strict 
and thorough examination each pupil receives a diploma 
as a " Doctor — Java," besides a monthly salary of from £2 2^. 
to £2 IO5., and an outfit of the most important drugs and 
surgical instruments. By this system some fifty young 
men have already returned to their homes as physicians 
and government officials, and thus greatly contribute to the 
extension of European civilization. 

In the chief streets of Batavia the stranger comes upon 
some small open watch-houses, or rather huts, consisting 
simply of four poles and a roof of palm thatch, in which is sus- 
pended a long, slender piece of wood [Tong-tong), which is used 
for three different objects. The Javanese who in this little hut 
is watching over the property and personal safety of the 
inhabitants, strikes the Tong-tong with a sort of drum-stick, in 

' ' Running A -Muck. ' ' — Na tive Charac ter. 1 9 1 

order to announce the hours of the night, or to give notice of the 
outbreak of a fire, or in case of any one running a-muck. This 
singular phenomenon, in which a Malay with open knife or 
drawn dagger rushes madly through the streets, and seeks 
to kill every one he encounters, occurs perhaps a dozen times 
a year. The first murder is very probably intentional, the 
offspring of hate or revenge, but that once accomplished, 
the murderer, usually under the influence of opium, runs 
recklessly forward through the streets, with the wild cry 
of " Amok " — '■'■ Amok " (Kill ! — Kill !), knocking down and 
stabbing whoever he encounters. As one can only approach 
the miscreant at the peril of one's life, there is kept in these 
watch-houses a peculiarly constructed weapon of long wooden 
staves, and shaped at the upper end not unlike a hay-fork, 
with which the desperate wretch can be seized. The various 
methods in which the Tong-tong is struck at once conveys 
notice as to which one of the three announcements conveyed 
by the instrument it is the watchman's object to make. 

The natives, although they divide themselves into the Java 
and Sunda nations, belong nevertheless to the same race, viz. 
the Malay, and are readily recognizable by their short 
thickset form, round face, wide mouth, short narrow nose, 
small black eyes, by their brown complexion, verging on 
yellow, and their luxuriant but always rough and coarse hair. 
As to their tnoral characteristics, the Javanese are a mild, 
easily contented, temperate, simple, industrious people. 
The principal occupation of the 10,000,000 inhabitants of 

192 Voyage of the Novara. 

Java and Madura, is agriculture, which with them is at least 
equally, if not in a much higher degree, understood by 
them than by any other Asiatic community, with the 
exception of the Chinese. This is apparent from the neatness 
and careful cultivation of their fields, the excellent condition 
of their farm-stock, the careful observance of seed-time and 
harvest, and above all by their regular irrigation of the soil. 
When Java first became known to Europeans, the chief pro- 
duce of the island consisted of rice, leguminous vegetables, 
indigo, and cotton. Intercourse with Europe has superadded 
to these two American products, maize and tobacco, and one 
African, coffee.* The Javanese have even less time for the 
mechanical arts than for agricultural pursuits, yet in the 
construction of boats and dwelling-houses, as also in making 
agricultural implements, shields and weapons of war, they 
have more aptitude than the majority of the people of the 
Malay Archipelago, f The only other stuff, except cotton, of 
which they make clothing is silk, chiefly the raw, coarse, 
Chinese silk ; all endeavours to naturalize the silk production 
in these islands having failed hitherto. 

* Still the chief article of cultivation ifi rice, which constitutes almost the sole 
bread-stuff of the Javanese, Crauford in his admirably digested dictionary of the 
Indian Archipelago calculates that the annual rice crop is about 500,000,000 lbs., 
and that each individual consumes annually one quarter, or 480 lbs. ! 

t For some extremely beautiful and costly weapons used by the Malay races we 
are especially indebted to Mr. J. Netscher, one of the directors of the Society of Arts 
and Sciences, a profound scholar in the various idioms spoken in Java, and who on 
the same occasion enriched our collections with some of his own valuable numis- 
matic specimens and philological researches, and to this day neglects no opportunity 
of advancing the special objects of our Expedition. 

The Three Dialects of Javanese. 193 

In addition to the ordinary language used for communica- 
tion and every-day purposes there are in Java two special 
idioms, — Javanese in the centre and east of the island, and 
Sunda in the west of the island. The small river Losari in 
the province of Cheribon on the north side of the island 
indicates the boundary -line of the two languages. Owing to 
the circumstance that both the idioms are used in Cheribon, 
many wiiters have deduced thence the origin of the name of 
that province, which signifies in Javanese " mingled," or 
mixed. The Javanese tongue, which of the two is far the 
more highly cultivated, has been a Avritten language for 
untold ages, and its alphabet is universally used among the 
Sunda groups as well as in the adjoining Malay groups. Va- 
rious inscriptions in stone and brass carry us back in the history 
of Java to the 12th century, and it would almost seem that the 
Javanese at that period had already attained the same 
degree of civilization as when four centuries later the Euro- 
peans for the first time landed on their soil. 

Of the original Javanese language there are three dialects, 
' — the language of the populace (Ngoko), or low Javanese, the 
ceremonial language (Kromo), known as high Javanese, and 
the old mystical dialect, or Kawi. 

Javanese has borrowed a number of words fi^om Sanscrit, 
Arabic, and Telingu, especially since the introduction of 
religion and commerce. 

One of the most important events in the history of the 
Javanese was theii' conversion to Brahmaism, and still 


1 94 Voyage of the Novara. 

later to Mahometanism. The precise period at which the 
first of these took place seems to be as yet quite uncertain, 
but this much is known, that from the 13th to the 15th cen- 
tury Brahmaism prevailed in Java. The conversion of the 
Javanese to Islam, whose religion is at present professed by 
the great majority of the inhabitants,* took place in 1478 
under the ruler of Salivana, after Arabian, Persian, Malay, 
and Mahometan Hindoos had since the year 1358 vainly en- 
deavoured to introduce that faith, f 

In addition to the native population there is also a large 
number of foreign settlers in Java, of whom the Chinese 
constitute far the largest contingent. Their number is above 
140,000, and would be much greater were their attempts at 
colonization not kept down by numerous limitations, and 
heavy taxes and imposts. The Chinese, who in more than 
one respect may be regarded as the Jews of. India, are only 
admitted by the Indian Government at certain points of the 
coast, and in many of the Regencies must not transgress 
those limits. Although they are extraordinarily industrious, 
ingenious, and well-suited for hard labour, yet the govern- 

* Only two of the various races of Java have remained constant to the belief of 
their fathers, and still honour, some of them Buddha, some Brahma. Among these 
are the Badawis, who constitute all that remain of a once mighty race at the east end 
of the island, among the hills of Kendang in the Residency of Bandang, on the 
Tenggers, also at the east of the island in the Residency of Passeruwan, the former 
numbering 1500, the latter about 4000 souls. 

t Garsick, the Grisse of modern days, was the first spot where these jealous 
sectaries settled about the year 1374, and the two Arabic sheikhs Dulla and Moel- 
lana are usually cited by later historians as the introducers of the Mahometan 
worship into Java. 

Chinese Kampongs. — Secret Societies. 1 95 

ment is of opinion that their unchecked intercourse with the 
natives would inevitabl}' prove prejudicial to the latter, wlio 
are plundered by the Chinese in every possible manner. 
Their main, indeed sole, object is to make money, and at all 
public auctions it is they who chiefly buy at a small price, 
and dii'ectly afterwards succeed in getting off their purchases 
at an enormous advance. One can purchase of these Cliinese 
dealers at prices almost unheard of for cheapness, but quality 
and lasting capabilities are not guaranteed. A German 
Tsa'iter compares the Kampong or Chinese quarter to a 
Polish country toAvn on a fair day. Every house and store 
is crammed with all manner of useless trash, and everywhere 
there is the utmost bustle. The most various articles are 
exposed for sale in each magazine. Here too are found the 
Chinese theatrical booths, in which at various hours through- 
out the day Chinese comedians, richly dressed in Chinese 
fashion, perform Chinese plays, wliich are applauded by a 
numerous ragged auditory, collected in the open space in 
front ! 

Each Chinese colony, or Kampong^ has a chief, appointed 
by government, with the title of lieutenant, captain, or 
major, available within the limits of the Kampong, but 
which, it is needless to say, confers no military privileges. 
Those of the Chmese residing in Java belong to mutual 
societies, whose members assist each other, and which have 
not merely humanitarian, but also political tendencies. 

We are in possession of the affiliation- ticket of a meuiber 

o 2 

196 Voyage of the No vara. 

of tlie native Chinese society of Iloei, or Tuite-Hiiy (Brother- 
hood of the Heavens and the Earth), printed on a fabric of 
reddish cotton, which bears 91 various written characters, for 
the following translation of whicli, as also for the accompany- 
ing particulars respecting the objects of this very remarkable 
society, we are indebted to the kindness of the renowned 
Cliinese scholar, Professor J. Neumann of Munich : — 

" The Brotherhood of the Heavens and the Earth frankly 
declares that it considers itself called on by the Supreme Being 
to put an end to the frightful contrast between wealth and 
poverty. In its view tlie possessors of earthly power and 
wealth have come into this world under the same ceremonies, 
and leave it in the same manner, as their defrauded brothers, 
the poor and oppressed. The Supreme Being never willed 
that millions should be held in slavery by a few thousands. 
Father Heaven and Mother Earth have never conferred on 
the few thousands the right to swallow up the property of 
millions of their brethren for the mere satiating their own 
luxury. To the rich and powerful their fortunes were never 
bestowed by the Supreme Being as an exceptional right ; it 
consists rather in the labour and the ' sweat of the brow' of 
the millions of their oppressed brethren. The sun with his 
beaming face, the earth with her treasures of wealth, the 
universe with all its joys, are boons common to all, and 
must be seized from the grasp of the few thousands for the 
satisfaction of the necessities of the naked millions. The 
world must ultimately be purged of all oppression and woe ; 

statement of the Objects of the Secret Society. 197 

this must be initiated in brotherly unity, must be steadily 
followed up with mind and hand, and must be completed. 
The good seed of this brotherhood must not be stifled 
beneath noxious weeds, rather is it our duty to root up these 
noxious weeds, that overshadow all things, to the benefit and 
advancement of the good seed. The problem, be it frankly 
confessed, is a mighty and a difficult one, but let each man 
bethink him, that there is no victory, no redemption without 
storm and strife. Until the great majority of the dwellers of 
all the cities of each province have taken the oath of fidelity, 
each man may continue outwardly to obey the mandarins, 
and ingratiate himself with the police by presents. Ill-timed 
demonstrations will injure the plan. So soon as the majority 
of the inhabitants in each city and province has acceded to 
the bond of our union, the old monarchy must fall to the 
ground, and we shall be able to found the new reign upon 
the ruins of the old. Millions of grateful brethren shall 
honour the founders of our brotherhood after they shall have 
gone to the grave, mindful of the mighty benefit they have 
conferred ; — the redemption firom chains and bondage of a 
ruined social system." 

The seal of union of this Brotherhood of the Heavens and 
the Earth is engraved with numerous hieroglyphics, and 
many-cornered in its iimer circumference, emblematic of the 
supreme states of felicity, according to Chinese notions, viz. 
wisdom, justice, posterity, honour, and riches. These five 
states of felicity correspond to theii' five elements, earth, 

io8 Voijage of the Novara. 

wood, water, metal, fire, whose symbols figure at the corner 
of tlic seal. Immediately below are seen certam other en- 

graved emblems, indicatmg mighty midamited leaders, 
ancient heroes of China, who are standing closely together 
with unshaken front. Then follow a number of proverbs, 
partly of symbolic significance, and in rhythmical sayings, 
such as : — 

Symhols and Proverbs on the Affiliation Seal. 1 99 

In close array the ranks of heroes stand, 
Obedient to the master-mind's command. 

One tie unites the old and the young brethren ; in order of 
battle old and young are intermingled. Each man stands 
ready to obey the smallest signal of his immediate com- 
mander. As the swollen mountain torrent spreads itself over 
the level ground, innumerable bands of these pour forth 
on all sides : 

Mingle brown, and white, and red. 
And strike till ev'ry foe lie dead. 

The by-laws of this secret society are so strict that there is 
hardly an example on record of a member incurring a denunci- 
ation, or being guilty of treason. In consequence of the cloud 
of mystery which envelopes these societies, they are the more 
dangerous, because unassailable by the government. And 
accordingly, all precautions hitherto taken for suppressing 
these secret societies of the Chinese population have proved 
unavailing. Secret societies however are anything but for- 
bidden under Dutch rule in Java, — on the contrary, it is 
rather hon ton to belong to some one of ihe lodges of free- 
masonry existent out there. 

Before setting out on our excursion into the interior of 
Java, we had an opportunity of being present at the festivi- 
ties which it is customary to get up on the occasion of the 
reception of an embassy from one of the native jmnces. On 
the present occasion it was the ministers of the Kings of the 

200 Voyage of the Novara. 

Island of Lombok,* eastward of Java, who had to deliver 
on behalf of their illustrious masters letters for H. E. 
the Governor-general of the Dutch East Indies. During 
the whole of their stay they were maintained at the ex- 
pense of government in the house of a specially appointed 
master of the ceremonies, a native of the Island of Borneo, 
and nephew of the Sultan of Pontianab, whose official 
position imposes upon him the duty of showing all that 
is worth seeing in the city to these occasional illustrious 
Malay guests. Both ministers were accompanied every- 
where by a Malay dolmetsch, although they spoke Java- 
nese with the utmost fluency, in addition to theu" mother 

On the day of the reception they made their appearance in 
ceremonial dress, and in gala '' turn-outs," at the government 
palace, where they were presented to the Governor-general 
by the Resident of Batavia, the highest authority in the city. 
The master of the ceremonies took charge of the letters of 
the Kings of Lombok, as also of two immense spears, at least 
twelve feet long, each richly gilt and gaily bedecked with 
yellow tissue, t which were presented by the ambassadors as 
presents from the Kings of Lombok to the Governor-general. 

* There are at present two kings reigning on the Island of Lombok : Ratu Agong 
Agong Suede Carang-assem, and Ratu Agong Agong Made Carang-assem. These 
had submitted under special treaties to the Dutch Government, whose vassals they 
now are. 

t Yellow is the royal colour of the Ruler of Lombok. According to the prevalent 
custom, no one but the king and members of his family is permitted to use that 
colour in their dress or ornaments. 



Ceremonial on receiving a Tributary Chief. 201 

It is however strictly forbidden to the Dutch employes to 
accept any presents of the most trifling nature, and even in 
cases such as the present, where the refusal of the gifts would 
be an insult to the donor, all such must be sold for the 
benefit of the treasmy, or at least a corresponding amount 
must be retm'ned by the receiver out of the state treasiu-y. 
Accordingly, it is the custom to recompense all presents 
made by the various regents with others of far greater 

At the entrance to the palace a guard of honour of Euro- 
pean soldiers was drawn up in full uniform, between whose 
ranks the ambassadors were ushered into the hall of re- 
ception. One of the attendants now held a large ricL-look- 
ing, highly-gilt parasol above the letter of the Kings of Lom- 
bok, which was borne along by the master of the ceremonies 
on a silver waiter. A similar mark of distinction was con- 
ferred on the two ambassadors and the resident. The 
Grovemor-general in full official uniform, and surrounded by 
a number of government officials, received the embassy on a 
platform, where he sat on a beautifully covered gilt chair, 

* This peculiarity of Eastern manners is universally prevalent wherever Oriental 
nations have come in contact with Europeans. It is of course as entirely unlike the 
genuine hospitality of the rude Bedouin or Tartar as it is possible to imagine, 
and seems to belong to an early and very imperfect notion of true refinement. 
Traces of it will be found in all countries, even in Europe, and in its original form of 
making a present in the expectation of receiving something more valuable in return, 
which hes at the bottom of all this pseudo-generosity. The astuteness of the Scotch 
Highlanders, themselves a race remarkably free from such meannesses, has hitched A. 
the system into a pithy proverb, the sense of which is to " send a hen's ^g'g in order 
to get a goose's in exchange." 

/, «^^ fUyCtXr^ I^M^AjU<^ 



202 Voyage of tJie Novara. 

canopied with costly tapestry. The elder of the two ambas- 
sadors, having been introduced by the resident, thereupon 
proceeded to say that he was charged to present the homage 
of his master to the Dutch Governmentj and to remit a letter. 
On a formal sign by the Governor-general, the government 
interpreter, Mr. Nitscher, took the letter off the silver waiter, 
at which moment a salute of nine cannon-shot was fired in 
the garden behind the palace, to announce to the people out- 
doors the moment at which the king's letter had been re- 
ceived. The letter, enveloped in yellow silk, and written in 
Malay with Arabic characters, was thereupon oj)ened by the 
government interpreter, and read with a loud voice, after 
which It was translated into Dutch. In a similar manner the 
reply of the Governor-general was translated for the two 
ambassadors into the Malay language. 

At last, after these stiff and wearisome formalities had been 
gone through, the ambassadors were invited to occupy chairs 
that had been specially prepared for them next the Govern- 
or-general, when a short exchange took place of civilities 
and common-place phrases, until the Governor-general gave 
the signal for breaking uj), by rising from his seat. The 
ambassadors were thereuj)on ushered forth in the same 
ceremonious manner in which they had entered. 

The occasion of the present embassy was a dispute with 
the Sultan of Sumbawa, in which the Kings of Lombok in- 
voked tlie mediation of the Dutch Government. The Sultan 
of Sumbawa had in fact refused to restore two subjects of 

Excursion to Duitensorg. — Javanese Miles. 203 

tlic Kinffs of Lombok who had fled to Sumbawa. But for 
the preponderating influence of the Dutch Government the 
two disputants woukl long before have resorted to war. 

On the 13th May we set forth in two large and very com- 
fortable coaches for Buitenzorg (signifying in Dutch " on the 
farther side of sorrow"), the usual residence of the Governor- 
general, who only comes to Batavia on certain days in the 
month to give audiences. He had not alone invited the 
members of the Expedition to visit the Preanger Regencies as 
guests of the government, and caused arrangements to be 
made for their ascending w^ith as little trouble as possible the 
volcanic peak of Gunung Pangerango (10,194 feet), but like- 
wise detached one of his adjutants, M. de Kock, and Dr. 
Bleeker, both well acquainted with the natural history of the 
country, to accompany us upon this excursion. Messengers 
were sent in advance, to announce our approach at each 
station, so as to secure us a comfortable and courteous 
reception wherever we wished to pass a few hours, or to 
take a night's rest. 

Buitenzorg is distant from the capital 39 paals or Javanese 
miles,* which distance^ thanks to the excellence of the roads 
and the horses in Java, is traversed in about three hours, 
two " loopers," or runners, as is the custom here, as else- 

* 73.75 paals (posts) are equal to one degree of the equator, whence one paal=\\nthin 
a small fraction of 4943 feet 6 inches. This method of indicating land-measure originated 
in the circumstance that on every road intersecting Java from west to east, the re- 
spective distances from the three chief places, Batavia, Saraarang, and Siurabaya, are 
marked up upon wooden "paale" or posts. 

204 Voyage of the Novara. 

where in the East, accompanying each coach, who are inces- 
santly on and off the waggon, yelling and cracking their 
long whips at the horses to keep them to their speed. About 
every five paals, or 4f miles (English), the cattle and the 
runners are changed, so that an unvarying S23eed is attained. 
All along the roads stretches the telegraphic wire, which 
unites Batavia in one direction with Angier (75 miles) and 
Surabaya (543 miles).* The wood of which each post is 
constructed is the Kapok tree, a species of Gossypium, or 
cotton tree, and here for the first time we saw the slender, 
tightly-strained wires suspended on the stem of a luxuriant 
green tree. Thus, if the experiment succeeds, the elsewhere 
naked, dead telegraph-poles will here be made at once 
useful and productive, as each post that supports the wire 
will produce a small quantity of cotton. 

Buitenzorg possesses one of the finest and most ex- 
tensive botanical gardens in the world. It was laid out 
as far back as 1817, during the vice-royalty of Baron van 
Capellen. The distribution of the various orders is con- 
trived equally to assist and promote the instruction of the 
general observer, and to accustom tlie naturalist to the phe- 
nomena of Eastern vegetation. Each order of plants has 
its own area. The various species of palms are the most 
extensively represented, and there is scarcely one of the 

* As yet there are no railroads on the island. But a company has been formed 
with the intention of uniting the more important and productive districts of the 
island, an enterprise which will extend to about 1000 miles (Enghsh), and will cost 
about £8,500,000. 

Botanic Gardens at Buitenzorg. — Vanilla CaUivation. 205 

gcnuSj wliether ornamental or useful, found in the Nether- 
land Indies or Australia, of which a representative is not 
to be found liere. The superintendence of this garden has 
been intrusted to tliat indefatigable liortulanus^ Mr. J. C. 
Teijsmann, who in his department assisted to the utmost tlie 
objects of the Novara Expedition. He not only presented us 
with duplicates of all tlie more valuable plants in his very 
extensive collection, but also with valuable seeds. By such 
kind co-operation we found ourselves provided with some 
twenty various species of fibrous plants, amongst others the 
well-known Ram^-shrub (Boehneria utilis\ and that useful 
species of wild plantain, the 3Iusa textilis (from the leaves 
of which is manufactured Manilla hemp), as also twenty-four 
different species of rice. Of these latter two were of special 
interest, one needing no watering, but flourishing best in 
mountainous, dry soil, the other being chiefly used l)y the 
natives for the preparation of a dye. 

Mr. Teijsmann has the great merit of having been the 
first to introduce into Java the cultivation of the valuable 
and costly Vanilla plant ( Vanilla planifolia), by using artificial 
means of fructification, after all the many expensive experi- 
ments previously made had failed, because the insect which 
effects the fructification of the plant in its orginal climate, 
the West Indies, is not found in Java. At present the yield 
is so great, that not alone does Mr. Teijsmann annually se- 
cure and send to market several hundredweights of this aro- 
matic pod, but several other landowners have applied them- 

2o5 Vojjage of the Novara. 

selves to the laying out of Vanilla plantations. The fruit, 
from six to ten inches in length, by three to five lines in width, 
of a dark brown colour, flexible, and somewhat unctuous to the 
touch, requires about five months to ripen. They are care- 
fully dried, first in the shade and afterwards in the sun, and 
are then packed away in bundles in air-tight metal cases. 
One hundred pounds of fresh pods yield about one pound 
of the Vanilla of commerce. Formerly the value of a pound 
of Vanilla was as high as £6 sterling, but it is at present 
sold at about £4. 

In the beautifully situated Hotel Belleuve, where we lived 
while at Buitenzorg, we chanced to become acquainted with a 
curious individual, a young negro named Aquasie Boachi, son 
of an African prince of Coomassie, the chief city of the king- 
dom of Ashantee on the Gold Coast,* who, while a child of 
nine years, had been sent by the colonial government to Eu- 
rope, in order to be educated in Germany. It was the inten- 
tion to make apparent what early education and instruction 
can do for the negro, and how the present low state of the black 
race is principally attributable to their oppression hitherto, and 
to the limited application, in their case, of European civil- 
ization. The experiment proved most satisfactory. Aquasie 
Boachi speaks German, English, Dutch, and French quite 
fluently, and holds a diploma, as mining engineer, from the 

* It is wt'U known that Holland in former days recruited her black regiments 
of the Netherland Indies by men from the Gold Coast, and in fact had set on foot 
a sort of traffic in men with the king of Ashantee. 

Interesting Negro Student. — Splendid View. 207 

mining- academy of Freiberg- in Saxony. He is a pupil of 
the celebrated Professor Bernliard Cotta^ whom he still remem- 
bers with affection and gratitude. As Aquasie had become 
a Christian he could not, save at the risk of his life, return to 
his heathenish native land, to the bosom of his own family. The 
Dutch Government accordingly, regarding him in the light 
of a victim to philanthropical experiments, at present pays 
the young miner out of the state funds about d6400 per ann., 
and occasionally employs him on mining researches. Aquasie 
had resolved to settle for life in Germany, where, as he told 
us, he felt himself thorouglily at home, but the climate did 
not agree with him, upon which he returned to Java, and 
had since occupied himself in coffee-culture. 

From the terrace of the hotel one enjoys a magnificent 
prospect bounded by the mountains around. On the right 
rises a lofty peak, whose summit-cone has been cloven into 
three pinnacles, the Gunung Salak 7204 feet (English), an 
extinct volcano, from which, however, in 1699 issued im- 
mense volumes of sand and mud, accompanied by columns 
of flames, tremendous bellowings, and convulsions of the 
soil. The torrent of liquid mud hurried along trunks of 
trees, carcasses of animals, tame as well as wild, crocodiles 
and fish, and, still preserving its character of a mud torrent, 
rushed into the sea near Batavia, stopping up the mouths of 
several rivers and brooks. Since then this colossal hill, torn 
to its innermost core by this fearful eruption, has remained 
silent, and peaceful fields, alternating with luxuriant forest. 

2o8 Voyage of the Novara. 

stretch upwards to the very flanks of its once dreaded sum- 
mit. To the left of Gunung Salak, and in appearance and 
elevation far more imposing, stands out the Gedee Range. 
Its highest point is the tapering regular cone of Gunung 
Pangerango, still farther to the left of which rises, almost 
equal in height, the bare rocky wall of the still active crater 
of Gunung Gedeh, from the abyss of which there occasion- 
ally issued light clouds of vapour. But this exquisite land- 
scape unveils itself to the ravished view of the beholder 
only during the early hours of morning. By 10 a.m. thin 
vapours have gathered round those lofty summits, which 
gradually accumulate as noon approaches, until by 3 p.m. 
there is almost invariably a dense mass of clouds resting over 
the entire range, which very frequently dissolve with fearful 
violence in the shape of tremendous tropical thunder-storms. 
The annual rain-fall at Buitenzorg would seem to be higher 
than at any other spot on the face of the earth. During 
some years it occasionally attains the depth of 200 inches 
(English), which is far beyond the utmost known in Central 
or Southern America.* 

* Dr. Junghuhn, in his admirable work upon Java, describes the rainy season — 
which usually has fairly set in by the month of January, when the westerly and 
north-westerly winds are driving the rain-clouds before them — in the following 
spirited language : — " The floods stream from the clouds often for foui'-and-twenty 
hours at a stretch without the slightest interruption, and with such violence that 
the noise of the plash of the falling element drowns the voices of the inhabitants, 
compelled as they are to keep to their houses. Every brook and river overflows 
its banks, covering with a tide of muddy brown water the alluvial soil wrested 
from the bed of ocean, while the frogs croak incessantly day and night, and the 
lizards and snakes emerge from their holes, and creep into every corner of the dwell- 

Fine Trachytic Rocks. — Curious Superstition. 209 

The evening we spent at the residence of M. Van de 
Groote, inspector of tlie tin-mines of Banka and Borneo, 
who was of very great use to tlie geologist of the Expe- 
dition, and at whose hospitable house we met a number of 
personages of distinction. 

On the following morning (14th May), before prosecuting 
our journey, we made an excursion to the neighbouring 
Batoetoelis (pronounced Batootoolis), as a number of tracliy- 
tic rocks are called, to which young Javanese wives, who wish 
to become mothers, ascribe the most marvellous virtues. 
The inscriptions hewn on the stones have been deciphered by 
the German philologist. Dr. Friedrich. There is also shown a 
stone with a depression like a human foot, which tradition 
asserts to be the footstep of a native prophet, who is sujDposed 
to have stood thereon at a time when the mass was not yet 
solid and hardened. There evidently is some association 
of ideas similar to that of the Cingalese respecting Adam's 
Peak, but without the poetic colouring of the latter. 

From Buitenzorg we went to Tjipannas,* a country-seat 
of the Governor-general, at the foot of Pangerango. The 
road from Buitenzorg to Tjipannas is part of the great post- 
road from Batavia to Surabaya, which just at this point 

ings of every man ; all through the hours of darkness is heard the loud thousand- 
voiced hum of insects, of myriads of mosquitoes, till it is hardly possible to find a 
dry place throu-i^hout the house. The hot, sultry air is saturated with moisture, so 
that everything becomes damp, in consequence of the fine particles of the rain- 
vapour penetrating into the inmost corners of the house." 

♦ Pronounced Chipannas (hot stream), from Tji, water, and Pannas, hot. Tji is 
always pronounced like chi, and oe like oo. 

VOL. n. p 

2IO Voyage of the Novara. 

traverses the mountain pass of Mengamendoeng, 4925 feet 
high, an outlier of the Gedeh range. It passes at first 
through richly-cultivated properties, with splendid rice-crops, 
and a little further on through coffee-plantations, after which 
comes uninhabited wilderness, when the road becomes so 
steej) that a pair of buffalos are harnessed in front of the 
horses of each carriage. En route we visited at Pondok- 
Gedeh the beautiful property of the family of Van den Bosch, 
whose founder greatly distinguished himself in promoting 
the agricultural pros|)erity of the island, while Governor- 
general of the colony, 1830 — 33. In the extensive gardens 
here we saw several large species of Vanilla and Cactus {Nopal)^ 
the latter of which are devoted to the propagation and gathering 
of the diminutive cochineal insect, from which is procured such 
a valuable dye. In 1826, a pair of this very fecund insect 
were brought from Spain to Java, and at present * there are 
in Pondok-Gedeh alone 500,000 plants, from which between 
10,000 and 20,000 pounds of cochineal are obtained annually, 
while other gardens of Nopal of equal size occur elsewhere 
throughout the island. AVe were also filled with astonish- 
ment at the variety and richness of the brushwood and forest 
trees, which the European is accustomed to see only as di- 
minutive, tender specimens, the rare plants of a hot-house ! 
Under the influence of a tropical climate, and a fruitful soil, 
the tea-plant, the nutmeg, the cinnamon, the sugar-cane, the 

* One can form some idea of the enormous fecundity of this insect, if we mention that 
it takes 200,000 m a di-ied state to make one pound of the cochineal of commerce. 

Boundary between Malay and Sunda Idioms. 211 

coffee-bean, and the indigo, all flourish in wildest profusion, 
and the various warehouses are as crammed witli the splendid 
produce of these valuable colonial staples as our northern 
granaries are with the necessaries of subsistence in the shape 
of dried fruits.* 

Quite close to Pondok-Gedeh, amid the majestic mountain 
scenery of Gadok, is the maison de SanU of Dr. Steenstra 
Toussaint, which enjoys a well-earned reputation under the 
management of Dr. Bernstein, a German physician and na- 
turalist. Invalid residents of the coast, when recovering fi'om 
climatic diseases, make a point of hurrying to this institution, 
in order to benefit by the keen, bracing mountain air. Dr. 
Bernstein is, as far as his professional engagements will 
admit, at once a zealous collector, and a skilful preparer, 
who has already made some very beautiful collections, and 
who, if he stay here any length of time, will be in a position 
to enrich considerably the museums of natural history in 
Europe, with numerous rare and valuable specimens. 

Just at the summit of the pass of Megamendoeng (dark 
cloud), begin the Preanger Regencies. This pass moreover 
forms a boundary line between the Malay language, chiefly 
used for commercial transactions along the coast, and that of 
^unda, the difference between which two idioms, as regards 
the uninformed stranger is only so far important, that in 

* Two Vanilla plants, imported in 1841 from the Botanical Garden of Leyden, 
remained barren for nine years, till recourse was at last had to the system of artificial 
fructification, upon which these plants increased so rapidly that the plants at 
present under cultivation at Pondok-Gedeh amount to 700,000 ! 

P 2 

212 Voyage of the Novara. 

asking a native for a light for his cigar, he must now say 
" Sono/' instead of '' Api," as hitherto, always supposing 
that he is a smoker, a qualification which rarely fails to 
ap2)ertain to the inhabitants of the Dutch East Indies. 

Here, in a wooden building open on all sides, and com- 
manding an exquisite panoramic view, we partook of a 
dejeuner a la fourcliette^ prepared quite in the European style, 
after which, amidst a drenching thunder-plump, we pursued 
our course to Tjipannas, which lies about 1000 feet below 
the level of the pass. 

At every village we passed, the authorities, as is the 
custom of the country, provided us with an escort. Thus we 
almost constantly had some 20 or 30 persons riding behind 
our carriages. The poor people had indued themselves in 
their best apparel, and looked very pretty in their varied 
fantastic attire. Even the rain, which still continued to 
descend in torrents, did not prevent them from following us, 
in order to do justice to the requirements of Javanese etiquette. 
So too, every one whom we met on the road assumed a 
respectful attitude, resting on the knees in a half-kneeling 
position, and cowering down in the road with folded hands, 
till our vehicle had rolled by. All the villages we saw had 
a very neat, clean, cheerful appearance. The houses of the 
Javanese (with the exception of those of the native au- 
thorities) are as a rule built entirely of bamboo, part being 
of wicker-work, part of the cane placed either side by side, 
or above each other, the whole roofed in with palm-leaves, or 

Singular Bamhoo Bee-hive. 213 

Allang-grass [Imperata Allang), or narrow shingles of cut 
bamboo, and with a flooring raised two or three feet above 
the level of the soil. The beautiful yellow wicker-work is 
usually stained in alternate squares of so black a colour 
that the walls of a Javanese hut resemble nothing so much 
as a gigantic draught-board. Under the eaves of the 
dwelling, which project five or six feet, and is supported in 
front upon poles, so that there is a sort of verandah beneath, 
are suspended cages with various feathered inhabitants, 
which tlie Javanese cherish with much tenderness, or else a 
very peculiarly constructed bee-hive, consisting of a bam- 
boo-cane, six or nine inches thick by three or four feet in 
length, which is split through the centre, hollowed out, and 
fastened together again on the upper side. 

Through a small orifice left in front, this artificial cavity 
is within a week or two peopled with a swarm of tiny sting- 
less bees [3Ieliporia mimita), which in the wild state inhabit 
the holes and cavities of the calcareous cliffs, and provide the 
Javanese with honey and wax. The latter product is 
blackish, slimy, and adhesive, and is employed in tlie de- 
lineation of the beautifully coloured figures in the gowns 
(Sarongs) of the native womon. 

Japanese Bc^-hive. 

214 Vojjage of the Novara. 

At tlie station of Tjlanjawar, we were saluted, while 
changing horses, by a Javanese chief, from Tjiangoer, named 
Radben Rangga Padma Negara, who, despite the tremendous 
tropical rains, accompanied us on horseback in his rich uni- 
form, overlaid with gold lace, as far as Tjipannas, where we 
were received by two government officials, and welcomed 
with the utmost cordiality. Here it was arranged we were 
to pass the night, so as, early tlie following morning, to make 
the ascent of Grunung Pangerango. We also found awaiting 
us a letter from Dr. Junghuhn, the renowned geologist and 
writer on the natural liistory of Java, who for years has resid- 
ed about a day's journey from Tjipannas, at Lembang, at the 
foot of Tankuban-Prahu, and has latterly been engaged by 
government to superintend the china -plant cultivation. 
Dr. Junghuhn had come to meet us as far as Tjipodas, where 
the first attempts at cultivation of the china -plant were 
being made with roots imported from South America, but, 
owing to a press of important business, was compelled to 
return to his own station before we reached the Preanger 
Regencies. This estimable German gentleman urgently 
besought us, by letter, to visit him in his forest abode, and 
painted in the most glowing colours the wonders of Nature, 
and the interest in a scientific point of view of his mighty 
mountain neighbour. At the same time he sent over his 
learned assistant. Dr. de Vrij, to welcome in his name the 
Austrian travellers, to explain to them in all their detail the 
Cinchona -plantations at tlic foot of Pangerango, and to 

Ascent of Gunung Pangcrango. 215 

enlighten them as to the present condition and prospects of 
this very important branch of cultivation. 

On the morning- of loth May we set off on horse-back for 
the Pangerango, which was covered with dense vapours, 
which wholly concealed it from view, and rather damped our 
hopes of enjoying a fine view from the summit. A path for 
horses has been made to the very top, and although at certain 
points this passes over exceedingly steep ground, yet the 
Javanese horses climb with such safety and dogged persever- 
ance, even in the most dangerous spots, that one may leave 
these small but powerful animals to choose their way, with 
as much confidence as in the case of that most sure-footed of 
animals, the mule of South America. Our cavalcade con- 
sisted of thirty riders, while an immense number of natives 
took on themselves the duties of an honorary body-guard. 
The forests, usually so lonely, were now alive with hundreds 
of men, busy transporting our horses, provisions, couches, 
tables, and stores, which were all to be conveyed to the highest 
peak of the mountain, where we intended to spend the 
evening. After we had attained a considerable distance from 
Tjipannas, constantly ascending till we were about 4000 feet 
above it, we found the flanks of the mountain quite free of 
wood. The traveller sees a few villages scattered at random, 
and rides over grass pasturages, on which are feeding troops 
of buffalos, alternating with plantations of tobacco or coffee. 
But at the very point where the forest gradually begins, 
where gigantic trees have been left standing like so many 

2 1 6 Voyage of the Novara. 

sentinelsj there it is that the amazed European falls in with 
most luxm'iant beds of artichokes and strawberries, and is 
welcomed on this distant soil by all the well-known fruits of 
his remote home. The path leads past Tjipodas, into a deep 
narrow valley, over-grown with the most luxuriant vegetation, 
and thence througli a forest of indescribable majesty, filled 
with the straight, tapering, pillar-shaped trunl^s, 80 to 100 feet 
in height, of the imposing Rasamala [Liquidamhar-AUingiana), 
and a thoroughly tropical underwood of wild 3Iusacew, and 
splendid tree-ferns, till finally the broad plateau-shaped Tji- 
burum (red -water) is reached. Here at an elevation of 
5100 feet we found some Pasanggrahans, or resting-houses, 
erected by government for the shelter and accommodation 
of all travellers through these mountain solitudes, who may 
happen to be surprised by night, or inclement weather. 
Such hostelries are found everywhere in the interior of Java, 
especially in those districts where they are most likely to be 
needed by European travellers, or by government employes, 
during their frequent tours of inspection, in which they oc- 
casionally undergo severe privations. At Tjiburum, lying 
far above the regions inhabited by man, there is a small 
nursery of useful plants of colder climes, bearing ample 
testimony to the indefatigable activity of Mr. Teijsmann of 
Buitenzorg, to whom the community is moreover chiefly 
indebted for the laying out of the entire road to the 
summit of the mountain. As there was every indication of 
a severe storm coming on, and as we hoped by pressing for- 

A Cascade of Hot Water I — Internal Fires. 217 

ward to got to our goal before it should burst, we halted here 
only long enough to change horses. This done we again 
resumed the ascent, much refreshed by the delay, which im- 
parted renewed vigour to climb the steep zig-zag pathway, 
which now led through a gloomy, silent forest, whence not a 
sound issued except the blowing of our cattle, as they breasted 
the steep, and far below us the hollow roar of the mountain 
brook, which swept through the valley beneath. We then 
found ourselves approaching nearer and nearer to some 
resounding torrent, which went on increasing, till to our 
amazement we suddenly perceived amid the keen cool moun- 
tain breezes a smoking cascade of hot- water ! ! [Tji-oloJcj or 
Sulphur spring). This warm spring, with a temperature of 
113° Fahr., which even at its source forms a tolerable-sized 
brook, issues with much spluttering from a trachytic rock 
close by the way-side, and rushes, brawling and foaming, 
down a narrow defile, overgrown with sj^lendid tree-ferns, 
and which is crossed by means of a slight rustic bridge. 
Scarcely is it possible to conceive a richer landscape, recall- 
ing as it were the primeval days of earth in all the luxuriance 
of Nature in the flush of youth, than this forest of tree-ferns, 
enveloped in clouds of warm vapour, which rise from this 
volcanic spring, close alongside of a clear, cold mountain 
torrent, which just here leaps into^ the same chasm ! This hot 
spring thus early indicates the presence of volcanic fires, 
which is further evidenced by a tract of volcanic debris, 
over w^hich it is necessary to clamber, and which has been 

■2 1 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

ejected by the destructive energies of the neighbouring active 
crater of Gedeh, from which the subterranean forces usually 
throw up, not red-hot lava-streams, but from time to time 
tremendous stone and mud currents, which, rushing down the 
steep flanks of the mountain, overrun and destroy everything 

About 10 A.M. we reached Kandang Badak, or the spot 
where rhinoceroses assemble, which is the second station, 
7200 feet above sea-level. Solitary specimens of the for- 
midable animals which liave given their name to this place 
are still met with here ; but a troop of some hundred men, 
accompanied by almost as many horses, must necessarily 
make such a din in the usually solitary forest, as at once to 
account for our being unable by personal observation to speak 
as to whether it deserves the name it has received. The 
rhinoceros, despite his immense size, is a shy, timid animal, 
who flees before man, and only attacks him when fairly com- 
pelled to do so in self-defence. The Pasanggrahan erected 
at this spot has several times already been burnt down by 
red-hot stones ejected from Gredeli. Here the path divides, 
one branch leading to the still active crater of Gedeh, which 
can only be reached on foot, the other leading to the summit 
of Pangerango. For the second time we clianged horses, 
and now had the last bit of the way before us — the steep, 
almost precipitous, cone of Pangerango. It was enveloped 
in thick clouds, and it was only by the short windings of 
the path we could realize that we were riding up an Isolated 

Reach the Summit of Pangei'ango. 2 1 9 

cone of regular form, the slope of wlilcli was between 25 and 30 
degrees. The cool air of these elevated regions now began 
to make itself felt, while our sensations bodily testified to the 
northern character of the vegetation around us. The tree- 
ferns indeed continued to grow up to the very highest point, 
but long ere reaching the summit they ceased to be found 
among the gigantic forest-pillars of the Liquid-amhar, but grew 
between dwarfish, knotted, stunted trees, whose trunks were 
overrun with a bright green moss, while from the branches 
hung festoons of greyish-green beard-moss {Tillanchia usnioides), 
greatly resembling hair. The trees, instead of stretching 
out their brown limbs to the air and light above, left them 
to droop sidlenly to the ground, turning themselves, as though 
in pain, away from the rude wind which swept through 
their branches, and, as it were, seeking for warmth and sus- 
tenance from mother Earth alone. All the plants here 
showed a tendency to become creepers, as also to a circum- 
scribed growth and extent of foliage, as well as uniformity of 
species. By 3 p.m. the whole party, including a rear-guard 
of irregular naturalists and sharp-shooters, had finally reached 
the summit of the mountain. When Dr. Junghuhn, the first 
man who trod this solitude, made the earliest ascent of this 
mountain in 1839, he found not a trace of a human step, 
and had painfully to make his way by rhinoceros-paths, be- 
neath a thick overhanging canopy of leaves, and through 
dense underwood. Thus he finally succeeded in forcing a 
passage through the forest, till he emerged upon a naked patch 

2 20 Voyage of the Novara. 

in the middle of the peak, where a rhinoceros was lying in 
the middle of the stream, while another was browsing on the 
edge of the forest : they fled snorting away on beholding liim. 
How different was what we now witnessed on the same spot ! 
The flat space on the summit, somewhat concave in shape, 
and sinking gradually away, the deepest part being towards the 
S. W., whence issues the highest spring in Java, now resembled 
the bivouac of a detachment of troops. Everywhere were men 
and horses, with cheerful blazing fires for cooking and warm- 
ing, while immediately adjoining a strawberry garden filled 
with delicious fruit, rose a hut for shelter against wind and 
weather, in which we found a surprising degree of com- 
fort. Tables, chairs, beds, excellent provisions and drink- 
ables, were ready for us at an elevation of more than 9000 
feet above the level of the sea, so that there was nothing 
wanting which could in any way contribute to our comfort. 
Even the necessary warmtli was supplied by a huge iron 
stove, constantly kept supplied with fresh fuel by a Javanese 
servant, cowering on the ground. This was the more ne- 
cessary that our systems, accustomed of late to tropical 
temperature, were unusually susceptible to this sudden and 
extreme change. In the morning when we left Tjipannas 
the thermometer even at that early hour marked 70°, while 
the mercury had now sunk to 48°. 22 Fahr. The longings we so 
often expressed, during a sojourn for months together on tlie 
bosom of the ocean, amid the moist, sultry strata of the lower 
atmosphere, in an almost unvarying Turkish-bath-like tem- 

View unfortunately obstructed by Fog. 221 

perature of 86°, of being once more re-Invigorated by a little 
cold, were now being gratified to the letter. 
' Unfortunately our anticipated enjoyment of the view from 
the summit was entirely frustrated by rain and cloud : we 
could hardly see anything a hundred yards distant, and 
the only idea we could form of the gigantic mountains and 
splendid hill-scenery that we knew surrounded us on all 
hands, had to be derived chiefly from the topographical 
charts we found in the hut. It was only during the oc- 
casional fleeting glimpses, when the S. E. trade-wind of the 
upper atmosphere, generally the chief ruler of these lofty 
regions, and almost always accompanied by a pure, blue 
sky, overpowered the N.W. trade (which blew from beneath, 
and, trending upwards along the cleft in the western side 
of the crater of Mondolawangi, continually enveloped anew 
in clouds the summit of the Pangerango), that it was per- 
mitted us to descry, now here, now there, small stretches 
of the country lying spread out at our feet, or to perceive 
closer at hand the inner slope of the crater of Gedeh, lying 
exposed to our wondering vision. We did what we could 
to secure a few thermometrical and barometrical observa- 
tions, as also to shoot, to geologize, to botanize ; and many a 
valuable discovery was made ere night set in and compelled 
us to seek shelter against the raw, cold night air, in the Pa- 
sanggrahan, which had been so carefully fitted up for our 
accommodation. On the summit we found quite an accumu- 
lation of various elegant little plants, which recalled to us 

22 2 Voyage of the Novara. 

tlie Alpine districts of our own land, one of wliicli, first dis- 
covered by Jungliulm, and named by liim Primula Imperialis* 
is one of the loveliest flowers in Nature, and which has never 
yet been found in any other part of the globe ; while in the 
brushwood around we heard the cooing of a bird of the thrush 
species [Turdus fumidus)^ which, with the exception of a small, 
very elegant little fellow, somewhat resembling the willow- 
wren, was the sole representative of the feathered tribe in 
these elevated regions. 

All our hopes were now directed towards the ensuing 
morning, which it was hoped would bring us better weather. 
By five in the morning every one was on foot, watching with 
anxious look the advent of the star of day. But alas! ere 
long all was once more enveloped for us in a dense but fine 
vapour, and the thermometer indicated only 47°. 33 Fahr. 

About fifty feet higher than the two huts for shelter erected 
on the plateau rises a trigonometrical pole, which, visible 
from a great distance, serves as a land-mark for the govern- 
ment surveyors during their labours in this neighbourhood. 
Any clear morning, when the sky is free from clouds, one 
must enjoy from this firee, airy out-look a splendid distant 
view over a large portion of the Preanger Regency. As for 
ourselves our panorama continued to be lamentably circum- 
scribed, and all we could do was, to watch for those fleeting 

* Now named Cankrienia Chrysantha. The plant most characteristic of this 
region was the ^najfluilium arhoreum. 

The Cone and Crater of Gedeh. 11^ 

moments during wliich the clouds lifted and gave us a brief 
yet comprehensive glimpse of the wondrous natural beauty of 
the surrounding landscape. 

Pangerango, 9326 Paris, or 9940 English, feet in height, 
is the loftiest of the extinct volcanic cones of Java, rising on 
the eastern slope of an enormous crater-gulf, likewise extinct. 
Close in the vicinity, not above a mile distant to the S. E., 
and communicating with it by the ridge of Pasce Alang, 7000 
(Paris) feet in height, rises another volcanic peak, Gunung 
Gedeh, of almost precisely identical lieight (9323 Paris, or 
9937 English, feet). Its summit has fallen in, and from amid 
tlie debris on the floor of this ruined crater rises a second cone 
far less in height, but in full activity, with a deep crater, which 
is the true fiery gorge of the still active Gedeh. Towards 
7 A. M. the clouds dispersed for a considerable space, when 
directly opposite us we saw the beautifully regular cone of 
Gedeh, with its perpendicular precipitous crater- wall, some 600 
or 700 feet high. So near, indeed, did it appear to the eye 
that we coidd almost fancy it possible to throw a stone from 
the one summit to the other, so that it should fall exactly 
into the crater, from amid whose rents and cavities thick 
volumes of smoke were bursting forth at several points. 

By 10 A.M. our caravan was once more under weigh on our 
return to Tjipannas. The geologist of the Expedition, how- 
ever, accompanied by Dr. Vrij and one of the government 
employes, set off upon a rather dangerous adventure, viz. 

224 Voyage of the Novara. 

tlie ascent of the Gedeh. Of this interesting excursion, Dr. 
Hochstetter gives the following interesting details: — 

^' A short distance before reaching the station of Kandung 
Badak, the path leaves the road by which we had come thus 
far. Here we had to clamber upwards as best we might, 
by a narrow path densely overgrown, and evidently but 
rarely traversed, till presently we emerged from the forest 
upon a tract of loose stone and scoriae, which, sparsely 
covered with low bushes and grass, forms the upper portion 
of the peak of Gedeh. A strong odour of sulphuretted hydro- 
gen greeted us here, issuing from a Solfatara, which nestled 
under the true crater in a deep savage cleft of rock. Hot 
sulphureous and watery vapours were emitted from among 
the dark crannies of the rock, the upper edges of which were 
coloured yellow with pure sulphur : with much difficulty we 
still pressed on, and finally reached the edge of the ruined 
crater. What a contrast presented itself here in the view 
before us and the landscape behind ! 

^' Behind we could see from base to summit clear and un- 
broken the beautiful luxuriantly-green well- wooded peak of 
Pangerango, on whose highest point stood out near and 
distinct the trigonometrical pole, or land-mark, while from 
the forest was heard an occasional musket-shot, sure sign 
that the company of travellers from the ship were on their 
way down. On the other hand, when we cast our eyes for- 
ward we saw but dismal desolate groups of grey rock, 
around the lofty amphitheatre-shaped rock wall of the 

Liter lor of Crater of P anger ancjo. 225 

broken-down lip of a crater, regularly constructed of pillar- 
like masses of tracliyte, each sundered from the column im- 
mediately adjoining, beneath which was the smoking cone 
of tlie active region of the crater, a bare heap of stone and 
scoriae, of the utmost variety of colour. Stretching from 
tlie vast abyss of the crater-ruins, on whose bald slope is 
situated the cone of the new eruption, there is visible at 
intervals on either side, far down, until indeed it is lost in 
the dark gloom of the forest, a bare rocky ravine, full of 
stones and debris, which the active vent of the crater has 
from time to time vomited forth. We had on the previous 
day passed the lower extremity of this stream while riding 
to Pangerango. 

" But we were not yet at the goal of our wanderings. We 
still had to climb fr'om this point, and afterwards to scramble 
up to the siunmit of the active cone. This, however, proved 
to be much more easy than we had thought when looking at 
it from below, and we arrived without any disaster at the 

'-'• Here then we were standing upon the edge of a yawning 
crater, in full acti^dty ! Not a single step forward was it 
possible for us to make. In front of us lay a funnel-shaped 
slope, 250 feet in depth, the floor of which was covered with 
mud, in which stood frequent pools of boiling water of a 
yellow tinge. The Javanese who accompanied us stated 
that they had never before seen it so quiet, the crater having 

VOL. n. 

226 Voyage of the Novara. 

always been quite full of steam and vapour. On tlie present 
occasion the steam only escaped in small volumes through a 
few fissures in the sides of the inverted cone, and more 
particularly from the cracks and crevices on the exterior 
of the cone of scoriae. We could perceive only water, steam, 
mud, and sharp-cornered fragments of rock, the dtibris and 
rubbish formed by the disintegration of the rocky masses 
thrown up by the crater, but not a trace, not a vestige, of 
any molten stream of lava, heaped up by the present crater 
of Gedeh. The whole history of the activity of this volcano 
may be compared to the explosions of a vapom- cauldron in 
the interior of the earth, which has been heated by the 
masses of old trachytic lava currents in an incandescent state, 
but not yet thoroughly cooled, whose eruptions formed the 
principal means of erecting the volcanic cone. Repeatedly 
up to our own times has the mountain thrown up water, mud, 
and stones, together with fine powdered sand and volcanic 
ashes, which have travelled as far as Batavia, as also masses of 
melted stone cemented by liquefied sand, while marvellous 
volumes of flame were visible to an immense distance ; but at 
no period within the memory of man has the Gedeh poured 
forth the hot liquid lava, or thrown up into the air melted 
volcanic matter. We must regard it as in its last stage, as 
about to become extinct, like all tlie other volcanoes of Java. 
It is the last reaction of the internal fires against the atmo- 
sphere penetrating from without. Even the most active 
volcanoes of Java, such as Gunnug Guntur and Gunung 

First Introduction of the Cinchona Tree. 227 

Laiiiengan eject only masses of liquefied rock and scoriae, 
cemented by the heat, but the regular lava currents have 
never been observed." 

While Dr. Hochstetter was occupied with this excursion to 
the active crater of Gedeh, the remaining members of the 
Expedition had reached Tjipodas at the foot of this fire- 
mountain, where, at an elevation of 4400 feet above sea-level, 
and at an annual average temperature of 63°. 5 Fahr., the 
first attempts were made to acclimatize in Java the valuable 
quinquina tree [Cinchona sp.). 

Although for twenty years past the introduction into Java 
of the cultivation of the quinquina tree, the bark of which is 
of such superlative importance for suffering humanity, had 
been repeatedly tried, this praiseworthy intention was only 
successfully carried into effect in 1852, through the purchase 
of a specimen of Cinchona Calisaya from the Jardin des Plantes 
at Paris by the then colonial minister of the kingdom of the 
Netherlands, M. Pahud, afterwards Governor-general of the 
Dutch East Indies. M. Pahud had the plant brought to Ley- 
den with the utmost care, whence it was conveyed to Rotter- 
dam for shipment to Batavia, Immediately on its arrival this 
plant, the progenitor of all that have been grown since, was 
placed in what is called the Governor-general's strawberry 
garden in Tjipodas, where it was protected by a bamboo 
shed from rain and sun, and at the time of our visit was 16 
feet high. Dr. Hasskarl, widely renowned as a botanist, 

was, on the recommendation of Dr. Junghuhn, who had him- 

Q 2 

228 Voyage of the Novara, 

self been urgently requested to undertake tlie duty, entrusted 
witli a mission to Peru, whence he was to bring back off- 
shoots, and germinating seeds, of the various species of 
Cinchona from which quinine is obtainable. Two years 
later, a Dutch man-of-war was specially despatched to Callao, 
the harbour of Lima, to convey Hasskarl with his valuable 
booty. That gentleman accordingly brought away with him 
four well-rooted young trees, and the seeds of four species of 
Cinchona,* but only the saplings gave promise of success, 
whereas the greater part of the seeds, on being sown, were 
lost. M. Hasskarl has had the reproach cast upon him, that 
during his expensive residence of two years' duration in 
Peru, he should have collected such few data of \hQ higher 
and lower limits of vegetation of the China plant, and the 
conditions of soil and mountain temperature under which it 
best flourishes, of the general influence exercised on it by 
storm and humidity, as also upon the annual quantity of rain 
it requires, whether a shady or sunny place of growth be 
best adapted to it, the period of flowering and fructification, 
the alterations which may be rendered necessary by its habits 
of growth at various points, as to what are its natural 
enemies, and how far its alkaloid properties are affected by 
the greater or less elevation above the sea of the spot in 
which it is growing, &c., &c. Nay, some persons went so 
far as to allege that the botanist had never seen one single 

* These four species were Cinchona Calisaya, C. Condanhnea, C. Lanceolata, and 
C. Ovata. 

Stalls tics of CincJiona growing in Java. 229 

China plantation, and had never personally selected either the 
plants or the seed, but had made arrangements for being 
supplied with the specimens he brought by means of the 
native bark-collectors [Cascarilleros). As though still farther 
to enhance the public discontent with Hasskarl, and the 
failure of his expensive mission, fate unhappily willed that 
his wife, who was said to be bringing with her his papers 
and memoranda of his stay in Peru, was lost, together with 
the vessel which, after several years' separation from her 
husband, was about restoring her to his arms, in consequence 
of which many questions relating to the cultivation of the 
China plant in northern and southern Peru remained un- 
answered ! Hasskarl ere long returned to Europe ''for his 
health," and the superintendence of the China cultivation 
was in June, 1858, committed to Dr. Junghuhn, in whose 
careful charge it now is, and has taken a start which leaves 
no room to doubt its ultimate and permanent success. 

In October, 1856, there were in Tjipodas 105 China trees 
of 2 feet 6 inches high (41 of C. Calisaya^ 64 of C. Condanimea). 
On 31st October, 1857, there were only 95 about 4 feet llj 
inches in heiglit, all in flourishing condition, while 10 had 
died. The cause of this lamentable phenomenon could not 
long escape the piercing glance of Junghuhn. The first 
tender shoots had been planted in a Tufa soil, the fertile 
covering of which barely exceeded 6 to 9 inches in thickness, 
and were smTOunded by roots and stumps of immense forest 
trees that had been cut down, which of course prevented 

230 Voyage of the Novara. 

anything like expansion, and, in a word, completely stifled 
their growth. 

In the case of the earlier plants, there was far too little at- 
tention paid to the requisite amount of shade. The timber 
had been entirely cleared away, and the young plants were 
consequently exposed during the whole day to the fierce 
heat of the tropics. Unless people were prepared to see the 
whole plantation go to ruin it was necessary at once to take 
protecting measures against it. Junghuhn was a man fit for 
any emergency, as he had already shown on the banks of his 
native Rhine, when the very cells of Ehrenbreitstein, with 
which a chivalric adventure had made him acquainted in 
his youth, had for once been found too narrow to hold him. 
So in Tjipodas, the man of resources was able at once to 
devise a remedy. With incredible toil, and the most foster- 
ing care and attention, nearly all the trees were, without 
detriment to one single twig, transplanted from a soil so 
little congenial to them to the adjoining Rasamala-wood, in 
which the proud, slight Liquid-amhar Altingiana imparts its 
own peculiar cliaracter to the primeval forest, where they 
were transferred to spots partly shaded, which had already 
been prepared for their special reception, the sites having been 
surrounded with trenches to carry off the superfluous water. 
In October, 1857, some of the trees had already attained a 
height of 141 feet ; by 31st March of the following year they 
were already 15| feet, while their stems were 3.44 inches 
thick. Many of the trees planted near the forest had within 

Insect Enemies of the Cinchona. 23 1 

three months grown from 9 to 21 mches, while the few that 
remained on their old site had only gained 9 or 10 inches in 
height, a fact which seemed incontestably to prove that the 
new site was the better adapted to them. In Jmie, 1857, the 
first blossom had made its appearance on one of the Con- 
danimea^ but it was not till May, 1858, that the majority of the 
trees were in full bloom, or that the ripening fruit began to 
make its appearance. When all the jfruits ripen, Dr. Jun- 
ghuhn told us he was in hopes he would secure 80,000 fruit, 
which, as each fruit contains about 40 seeds, would provide 
him with 3,200,000 seedlings. It is not indeed a question 
merely of ripe and at the same time fertilized seeds, but 
chiefly whether the bark of this plant contains in the land of 
its adoption, and under different conditions, that costly 
alkaloid quinine, which seems daily to become more indis- 
pensable in the science of medicine. 

Despite the most anxious solicitude there had long been 
remarked in Tjipodas a gradual decay of some of the shoots, 
but it was only a few days before our arrival that after a 
most minute zealous inquiry the cause of this phenomenon 
was discovered. A minute insect, scarcely ^V of an inch in 
length, of the Bostrichus species, proved to be the foe of these 
plants. The holes which are burrowed by this insect, are 
drilled quite through the wood of the stem and branches into 
the very pith, in which it finally stops and lays its eggs. 
The Cinchona trees thus bored through are irremediably 
ruined, but there is always the hope that, as the roots remain 

22,1 Voyage of the Novai^a. 

sound, they may afterwards put forth new shoots. However, 
the appearance of this insect does not seem to be the primary 
cause of the disease of the trees, — on the contrary, disease is 
the cause of the appearance of the insect. If the other trees 
prove to be successfully reared, the insect will disappear, since 
it was convincingly proved by one of our zoologists that it 
had not come to the country with the Cinchona seeds and 
plants, but was undoubtedly indigenous to Java. 

Altogether there were, in May, 1858, upon the whole island 
three quinquina plantations, which have been specially estab- 
lished with a view to the solution of certain questions of 
climate at A^arious elevations, and are situated in the follow- 
ing localities : — 

1. In Tjipodas at the foot of Gunung Gedeh (4100 to 
4800 feet above sea-level), in a beautiful Liquid-ambar forest, 
and containing 80 plants. 

2. In Bengal enzong, on the declivities of the Malabar 
Range (4000 to 7000 feet in height), in the midst of a con- 
siderable oak forest [Quercus fagifoUa)^ containing 600 plants. 

3. South of Besuki on the Ajang Range (about 6800 feet 
above sea-level), in a plantation* containing 21 plants, to 
which Dr. Junghuhn gave the name of AYono Djampie, i. e. 
Forest of medicines. 

* According to our latest advices from Java, which extend to November, 1860, 
there are at present in the Preanger Regency upwards of 100,000 China plants in the 
very best order, so that this valuable commodity not only may be regarded as fully 
naturalized in that island, but the Dutch Government even complied with the request of 
the British Government for a certain number of seedlings for introduction into India. 

Magnificent Scenery of the Easatnala Forest. 233 

The Dutch Government has spared neither trouble nor 
expense, and has made considerable sacrifices, to bring over 
the quinquina plant from its native country, where it was 
believed to be threatened with utter destruction, to Java, 
there to be acclimatized. The chances in favour of an ade- 
quate return are very great, and the attainment of this object 
has been secured within certain limits. Of all the tropical 
regions we visited, the Island of Java seems by its natural 
advantages to be the best capable of affording to the tree 
which produces the febrifuge bark, so invaluable a boon of 
nature to suffering humanity, a second home, amid the 
magnificent scenery of its mountain ranges. 

However, the wide-spread idea that the China plant is 
exposed to utter extinction in its native land of Peru has 
proved to be quite unfounded. We shall revert to this sub- 
ject when we come to treat of our visit to the western coast 
of South America, and shall take pains to solve at least some 
portion of the question in dispute, as to certain necessary 
conditions being requisite to be observed in the case of the 
quinquina plant in its original home, the investigation of 
which, the superintendent of the quinquina tree culture in 
Java, Dr. Franz Junghuhn, so earnestly commended to the 
attention of the scientific members of the Novara Expedition. 

However, our interest was not confined to these China-tree 
plantations ; our attention was riveted by the marvellous 
Rasamala (Liquid-ambar) forest in which w^e now found our- 
selves, while those fond of the chase were not less amazed 

234 Voyage of the Novara. 

and gratified, at bringing down a splendid specimen of what 
is known as the Kalong or Roussette Bat [Pterojms vulgaris). 
These singular nocturnal animals hang in enormous quan- 
tities throughout the entire day from the branches of the 
trees, amid the profoundest stillness, till evening sets in and 
dismisses them to their nightly evolutions. They are then 
visible flying through the air like gigantic bats, or flying foxes. 

While riding back to Tjipannas we remarked amid the 
smiling rice fields several poles with hangings of various 
kinds, resembling those erected on the shore in front of their 
huts by the superstitious natives of the Nicobar Islands, in 
order to keep his Satanic Majesty at a distance. The 
natives call these poles Tundang-Setan (talisman against 
the devil), and believe they can by their aid frighten away 
the evil spirits, while they are gathering the crop from their 
rice fields. 

From Tjipodas the excursionists proceeded to Tjiangoer,* 
the present capital of the Preanger Regency, containing about 
15,000 inhabitants, where some days were to be spent in ex- 
cursions, collections, hunting, and other amusements, after 
which we were compelled by the limited time available to return 
to Buitenzorg and Batavia. Two members of the Expedition, 
Drs. Hochstetter and Scherzer, penetrated a little further into 
the interior, with the purpose of paying a visit to Dr. Junghuhn, 
to whose researches in the Natural History of Java we are so 

* Pronounce Tschipodas and Tschangschoor (Sweet Water) respectively. 

Bandong. — Method of collecting Edible Swallows' -nests. 235 

much indebted. The following- few pages are devoted to an 
account of this interesting excursion. 

Towards 5 p. m. we arrived at Tjiangoer, in company 
with Dr. de Vrij and M. Vollenhoven, and immediately set 
out on our journey to Bandong, so as to reach the same even- 
ing that neat little town, whose singularly favourable position, 
almost exactly in the centre of the Regency, makes it a dan- 
gerous rival to Tjiangoer as the seat of government. En route 
we passed Tjisokan, a small village, most of whose inhabit- 
ants are engaged in procuring edible swallows' -nests, which 
are found in great quantities at a chalk mountain about 
twelve miles distant, known as Radjamandula.* The spots at 
which the edible nests of the Hirundo esculenta are found are 
anything but grottoes peculiar to this product, as is usually 
alleged, but steep, almost inaccessible, cliffs, crannies, and 
fissures in the rock, in which the swallows build their nests, and 
which can only be reached by the utmost exertion, frequently 
accompanied by danger to life. They are met with partly upon 
the south coast, close above the raging surf, partly deep in the 
interior, about 2000 feet above the level of the sea, distant 
several hundred English miles from the nearest part of the 
sea-shore ; and while the inhabitants of Karangbolong have 
to scale the almost perpendicular coast-wall by means of 

* Called in the Sunda dialect Gunung Masigit, or Hill of the Mosque, in conse- 
quence of the chalk, of which it is composed, being broken into pinnacles of remark- 
able uniformity, and strongly resembhng the appearance presented by the minarets 
of a mosque. 

'1'^^ Voyage of the Novara. 

ladders* of Rotang [Calamus Rotmig) and Bamboo, ere they 
can reach the entrance of the cavern, the natives of Bandong, 

* As these edible swallows'-nests form a very important article of commerce 
among the Colonial products, and their collection provides the means of subsistence 
to a considerable section of the population of Java, we shall follow here the descrip- 
tion given by Dr. Junghuhn, in his truly classic Monograjjh upon Java, in which 
(Book I. p. 4QS) he speaks as follows respecting the marvellous abodes selected by 
this species of swallow, and the perils dared by the native in obtaining their nests. 
" In Karangbolong, a portion of the entrance to the holes where the swallows breed 
is on a level with the surface of the water, and at times covered by the sea. In 
one of these cavities, the Gua Gede, the edge of the coast-wall rises 80 Paris feet 
above low water, in a concave form, so that it actually overhangs ; however, at an ele- 
vation of about 25 feet there occurs a projection, which the Rotang-ladder reaches by 
being suspended perpendicularly. The ladder is made by two side ropes of reed, which 
every inch-and-a-half, or two inches, are bound to each other by cross-bars of wood. 
The roof of the entrance to the cave is only 10 feet above the sea, which even at ebb- 
tide washes the flow throughout its extent, while at flood-tide tlie mouth of the cave 
is entirely closed by the sweep of the rollers. Only during ebb-tide therefore, and 
with perfectly smooth water, is it possible for any one to penetrate into the interior. 
Even then this would be impossible, were not the rocky vault, or roof of the cavern, 
pierced through, eaten away, and coiToded into innumerable holes. By the projecting 
angles of these holes it is that the strongest and most daring gatherer who first 
makes his way in, has to hold on, while he attaches to them ropes made of Rotang, 
which thus hang fi-om the roof to a length of four or five feet. At their lower ex- 
tremities other Rotang ropes are securely fastened crosswise, thus running, rather 
more horizontally, parallel with the roof, so that they form a hanging bridge as it 
were along the whole length of the roof. The roof is about 100 feet wide, and from 
the entrance at the south to the deepest recess in the north end, the cave is about 
150 feet in length. Although only 10 feet high at the entrance, the roof becomes 
gradually more and more lofty as the cavern retreats, till at the farthest extremity 
it is about 20 to 25 feet above the sea-level. Before any one of the nest-hunters pro- 
ceeds to erect his ladder, and again before proceeding to cHmb up upon it in such 
fearful proximity to the thundering swell, a solemn prayer is proffered to the goddess 
or queen of the sea-coast, whose blessing is invoked. At this place she bears the 
name of Nfai-Ratti-Spf/or-Kuhil, or sometimes Bntn-LorO'Djungfirang, and has dedi- 
cated to her in the village of Karangbolong a temple, which is kept scrupulously 
clean. Occasionally the gatherers make also a solemn sacrifice at the tomb of Serot, 
who, according to a Javanese legend, is revered as the first discoverer of the bird-nest 
caves. (The meaning of the above Javanese words is as follows : Njdi, the title of 

AstonisJiing Fecundity of Ilirundo Esculenta. 237 

on the contrary, arc compelled to climb up to a yet greater 
elevation among tlie precipices and rocks, ere they are able 
to reach the openings that lead to the various hollows. 

Wliile the birds are breeding, or if they have their young, 
which happens four times each year, one half remain in the 
cavities, and both males and females take their turns in sit- 
ting to brood, every six hours. Each nest is inhabited by 
a pair of swallows, so that if 1000 nests are found in a cave, 
they are inhabited by 2000 grown swallows (half male, 
half female). The fecundity of this bird is so great, that, 
although the nests are gathered four times a-year, and that 
somewhere about a million of their progeny is at each pluck- 
ing wasted or destroyed by the collectors, they never seem 
to diminish. The six caves at Bandong give yearly about 
14,000 nests, that at Karangbolong about 500,000 : one 
hundred nests weigh about one catty (IJ lb.), and one hun- 
dred catties (125 lbs.) make one picid.^ For each picul of 
these nests, which they look upon as a special delicacy, the 
Chinese pay from 4000 to 5000 guilders (£350 to £420). 
The nest-gatherers are apparently a special class, whose oc- 
cupation is handed do^ia from father to son. 

Close to the village of Tjisokan, a very elegant wooden 
bridge, constructed on the American system, but entii'ely erected 

honour of a female, corresponding to our " Madame : " — Ratu, Queen : — Serjoro, 
ocean : — Kkhd, south : — Lero, maiden •.^Djunfjyrang is a surname.) Compare 
" Java, its physical Features, Vegetation, and internal Structure," by Franz Junghuhn. 
Leipsig, Arnold, 1842. 

* The picul varies in weight between 125 and 133| pounds. 

238 Voyage of the J^ovara. 

out of the resources of the colony, has been thrown over the 
Tjisokan river. The roads, although broad and kept in excel- 
lent order, nevertheless lead occasionally over hills so steep, 
that to descend them in a heavy carriage, especially consider- 
ing the rapidity with which the Javanese drive, is exceedingly 
uncomfortable, and even dangerous, although the wheels are 
in such cases provided with a solid ^'- sabot ^ and where this 
seems likely to prove inadequate, a number of natives hang 
on to the wheels behind, who for a small gratuity control 
the rate of descent by means of ropes. 

At last, about midnight, shortly before which we passed 
the river Tjitarum by a ferry, we reached Bandong, and on 
gaining the residence of the Javanese Regent, Raden Adipati 
Wira Nata Kusuma (spelt by the Dutch Kocsoema^ but pro- 
nounced as spelt in the text), were received, notwithstanding 
the lateness of the hour, in the most hospitable and friendly 
manner. Here we found everything, even to the minutest 
detail, managed in the European fashion ; and no guest 
would imagine that he was in the house of one of the Ma- 
hometan princes of Java, were he not reminded of the fact 
by the rich Oriental costume of his host and his family, 
as also by the Javanese domestics, bearing elegant richly- 
adorned Siri, or betel-boxes, of gold or silver, and invariably 
tendering their services to their masters in a stooping posture, 
or rather sliding after them upon their knees. For the 
Javanese, too, greatly affect the leaf of the betel, mingled 
with powdered areca-nut, powdered coral, or pearl chalk, and 

Betel-chetving. — Chinese Courtesy. 239 

Gambir {Nauclea Gamhir); however, this mixture is not chewed, 
but placed between the lips and the front teeth, where it is 
barely kept long enough to admit of the saliva collecting in 
the mouth of a blood-red colour, which tliey spit out, the poor 
in their huts into cocoa-nut shells, the wealthier classes into 
copper vessels, but princes and rich people into golden spit- 
toons. Even the ladies have given way to this custom, and 
the native belles make use occasionally of this filthy juice 
in order to keep importunate admirers at a distance ! 

Supper, which, in anticipation of our arrival, had been 
made ready for us, was served entirely in the European 
mode, and om' Mahometan host went so far in his assimila- 
tion to Western ideas as to overcome certain religious 
scruples, and himself join us at table. As we sat round the 
board long after midnight the Assistant Resident of the dis- 
trict made his appearance, M. Visscher van Gaasbeek, a 
Hanoverian by birth, who however has lived twenty-five 
years in this country, and immediately placed himself en- 
tirely at our disposal. We now proceeded to chalk out our 
plan of operations for the ensuing day, and the Regent gave 
orders in advance to have in readiness his own coach and 
several saddle-horses for an excursion to Lembang, the re- 
sidence of M. Junghuhn. Before we separated, the Regent, 
with whom unfortunately we could only communicate through 
a Malay interpreter, with much condescension produced out of 
a leathern case his own elegantly- engraved carte-de-visite^ and 
expressed his desire to exchange with ourselves. The Java- 

240 Voyage of the Novara. 

nose princes soem to attach especial importance to anticipat- 
ing tlie Europeans in good-breeding, and forestalling the 
desires and wishes of strangers. At last, towards 2 a.m., we 
went to rest, and despite the fatigue of the previous day, 
were by 5 a.m. seated in the carriage of the Regent, en route 
to the residence of Dr. Junghuhn. We drove the two first 
posts, about 10 paals, wlien we exchanged that mode of con- 
veyance for our horses, which in less than an hour brought 
us to Lembang, situated about 4000 feet above sea-level, 
in an almost European climate. Standing alone close to this 
village is the beautiful dwelling of Junghulm, at the foot of 
the volcano Tangkuban-Prahu, and surrounded on all sides 
by beautifully-laid-out gardens, in which, cut off from the 
scientific world, he lives with his family. Everything around 
gives to the stranger a thoroughly home-feeling ; in every 
countenance is visible content, in every glance the most 
heart-felt cheerfulness. 

Franz Junghuhn, a German by birth, from the district of 
Mansfeld in the Harz-mountains, saw many years hard 
service as a military surgeon in the service of the Dutch 
Government, and at present holds the appointments of In- 
spector of Scientific Explorations, and Director of the entire 
China-tree cultivation of the Island of Java, with ample means 
for the solution of this problem. This indefatigable natural- 
ist (of whom there is an excellent engraving at the Royal 
Botanical Gardens at Kew), to whom science is indebted for 
the most comprehensive information relating to Java, has 

Visit Dr. Junghiihn. — His Personal Appearance. 241 

himself ascended 45 different volcanic peaks, and tliat at a 
period when there were no bridle-roads leading to their foot, 
but only those singular zig-zag paths which the rhinoceros 
has worn for himself, in order to browse at his leisure and 
undistm'bed on the roots and ricli grass of these lofty pas- 
tures. His imposing exterior and expression of countenance 
all betoken the indefatigable perseverance and gigantic 
powers, both physical and intellectual, which find expression 
in his incomparable work upon Java, and his great chart of 
that island. 

The renowned savant received us like old friends, with the 
most delightful fervent hospitality, related to us his very 
latest experiments and observations with respect to tlie culti- 
vation of the quinquina plant, and presented us with his 
last work,* to which he seemed exclusively to devote his 
entire activity. For om' own part, we in retm-n promised Dr. 
Junghuhn to make most special inquiries u]3on tlie subject 
dm^ng the period of our stay in the native country of the 
Cinchona, and to endeavour to be able to answer to the 
questions we were charged with ; as by so doing we hoped 
to re-pay in some degree our tribute of gratitude, for the 
countless instances of personal interest and attention which 
had been shown us by the scientific gentlemen in Java, as 
well as by all the government officials. 

* Toestand der aangeweekete Kinabomen op het eiland Java in het laatst der 
Maand Julij, en het begni van Augustus, 1857. Kort beschreven door F. Junghuhn, 
116 pp. 


242- Voyage of the Novara. 

Adjoining Jungliulni's dwelling, a large proportion of the 
coffee beans raised in the Preanger district are prepared for the 
European market. The Government has farmed the process 
to one M. Phlippan, and first deals with the beans when, 
packed in sacks, they are ready for exportation. The entire 
coffee crop of the environs of Bandong, averaging about 80,000 
piculs (or 10,000, OOOlbs.), is conveyed annually over the 
hills to Lembang, where the fleshy berries" are first shelled 
and made ready. For this purpose they use the Brazilian 
or moist mode of treatment, by which process, however, ac- 
cording to the opinion of connoisseurs in coffee beans, much 
of their flavour must be lost. But, instead of attributing 
tlie well-marked decrease of flavom- of the Java coffee bean 
to this mode of preparation,* others are disposed to find the 
cause of this deterioration in degeneration of the coffee- 
shrub itself, and accordingly the Dutch Government sent out 
to Java the well-known botanist Professor Vriese (with ap- 
pointments']" which must appear almost fabulous to a German 
botanist), in order to determine upon scientific data the 
cause of the falling off of the coffee bean. The sending out 
to Java a Professor of the University of Leyden, who had 
never before been in the Dutch East Indies, in order to en- 

* At all events, among the planters up the country the opinion prevails that the 
coffee-beans prepared by the native population on what is called the parching method 
are of far finer and more durable quality than those prepared by the former 

f Professor Vriese, besides having all expenses paid, drew a salary of £1000 per 
annum, besides 10 guilders (16s. 8</.) a-day for every day passed by him in the interior 
of the island while engaged in its explorations. 

Statistics of Javanese Coffee Trade. 243 

lighten tlie j^ractical coffee planters, already on the spot, as 
to the deterioration of that plant, made anything but a 
favourable impression. Some bitter wags, indeed, of whom 
there is no lack in Java, any more than of Punches or Charivari 
at home, said that the mission of Professor Yriese was as 
singular as if a native Javanese had been despatched to 
Holland in order to teach the farmers there how to make 

Nevertheless, the solution of this question of the degeneracy 
of the coffee is of the very highest importance to the country, 
as it produces annually about 800,000 piculs (100,000,000 lbs.) 
coffee beans,* and as its climate and soil are eminently suit- 
able for a far more extended development of that branch of 
cultiv-ation, which was first introduced from Mocha into 
Java, about 1718, by the then Governor, Hendrik Zwoarde- 
croon.f The entire coffee crop must be delivered by the 
coffee planters to the Grovernment at a fixed j)rice, and while 
paying in the interior 3 J guilders (55. lOd.) per picul (125 
lbs.), it fetches in Batavia, where the people are far more 

* The commercial and statistical particulars of Java, for which we are mainly in- 
debted to the kindness of Mr. Eraser, the Austrian Consul in Batavia, will be specially 
considered in a dillerent part of the work. 

t The Javanese agriculturist, especially the coffee planter, is sadly tormented 

by three kinds of grass, which Dr. Junghuhn has named the Javanese Trinity, and 

which are invariably found with the coffee plant — Erichthitas P'alerianifolia (which 

was introduced from Mocha with the coffee shrub, and was never before known in 

Java), Agerahun Conisoides, and Bideus Simdaica. The civet-cat, too (called Luah in 

Javanese, Jjaruh in the Sunda language), does great damage to the coffee plantations, 

just as the crop is being collected. It eats only the fleshy part of the brown berry, 

the beans, at least according to what the Javanese say, actually gaining a flavour 

by the process to which they are subjected in the maw of the animal ! 

R 2 

244 Voyage of the Novara. 

heavily taxed, 9 guilders (155.) per picul. The Netherlands 
Trading Company [Nederlandsche Handeh-Maatsclmiiiiy')^ which 
possesses the sole right of shipment, pays the Dutch Govern- 
ment from 28 to 30 guilders (-±65. 8c/. to 505.) per picul of 
coffee, which it sells in the European market for its own ac- 
count. How thoroughly such a monopoly must check the 
growth of trade and commerce may be best seen in the stag- 
nation of haughty old Batavia, as compared with the youth- 
ful, flourishing free port of Singapore. The Dutch Govern- 
ment has, however, within the last few years taken a stride 
in the direction of liberalism, and has thrown open a por- 
tion of the products of the Island (as, for example, sugar, the 
whole of which Government itself had hitherto sent to 
Holland) to public auction on the spot ; and it is hoped this 
system may ultimately be extended to other colonial products, 
especially coffee, and that a little later, not alone Batavia, 
Samarang, and Soerabaya may be declared free, but tliat all 
the harbours may be thrown open to free trade. With this 
question of free interchange of commodities is intimately bound 
up that of compulsory labour, which consists in the natives of 
the interior being compelled to work for the Government at 
certain fixed rates. In all districts where the Government 
owns coffee or other plantations, the cultivation of these must 
be attended to by the natives of the nearest villages, for a remu- 
neration fixed by the Government. The coolies or porters must, 
for the fixed price of 2 J or 3 doits per paal, carry goods or do 
service as runners or messengers, while free labour is at 

The Compulsory-Labour System in Java. 245 

least four times as dear. A jiarty, strongly supported at 
home, lias arisen in Java, advocating the doing away with 
compulsory labom- throughout the island, but, owing to the 
many Important interests imperilled by such a j)olicy, it has 
been very generally repudiated. It is impossible in Java to 
broach the topic of doing away with compulsory servitude 
without inaugurating an envenomed discussion. For this 
question concerns many planters and Government officials not 
less closely than that of the abolition of slavery does the 
planters of the southern States of America. On this point we 
have heard such widely different opinions pronounced by 
experienced, thoughtful, impartial men, that we are the less 
disposed to express, on the occasion of so short a visit as 
ours, any decided sentiments, since such would have pro- 
bably been entirely changed, or at all events modified, if we 
had lived all our lives among the natives, and had become bet- 
ter acquainted with their customs and peculiarities of character. 
It is believed — such at least is the general impression — 
that in a land so favoured by Natm^e as Java there is but lit- 
tle to be hoped for fi'om fi-ee labour, as the requirements of 
the natives are very limited, and easily satisfied. Abandoned 
to his own impulses of activity, the Javanese would only 
work sufficiently to supply what was necessary for his mere 
subsistence, or would only perform any extra duties so long 
as the imposition of regular labour does not set itself in direct 
antagonism ^^th his docile, gentle disposition. The manners 
and customs of the country, the condition of the populace re- 

246 Voyage of the Novara. 

lative to their princes and chiefs, are favourable to the condi- 
tion of forced labour, in which they have been confirmed by 
their Dutch conquerors, thus rendering it less perceptible and 
intolerable. It is patent to all that since the introduction in 
1830 by General Van den Bosch of the Culture system, or 
system of compulsory labour, the internal state of the colony 
has enormously benefited,* and the revenues of the Govern- 
ment increased in a most extraordinary degree. In fact, what 
is known as the Batig Stal, or balance of the colonial admin- 
istration for the past year (1859), gave a total of 41,000,000 
guilders (£3,416,000). But the pecuniary profits which the 
State Treasury wrings from the labour of its subjects are, un- 
fortunately (as was amply proved in the South American 
colonies during the days of Spanish ascendency), not always 
a correct standard of the prosperity of a country or of the 
felicity of its inhabitants. 

In company of Dr. Vrij the geologist of our Expedition 
ascended from Lembang the volcano of Tangkuban Prahu, 
whence, following an excellent route of travel drawn up by 

* In 1859 the most important of the colonial products, grown for account of the 
Government, presented the following quantities : — 

Coffee piculs 727,000 (of 125 lbs. -each) 

Sugar „ 901,000. 

Indigo 558,800 lbs. 

Cassia 256,000 „ 

Cochineal (a failure in the crops owing to incessant rains) ... 6,700 „ 

Tea 2,057,400 „ 

Pepper 45,000 „ 

The duties on imports and exports for that year in the islands of Java and Ma- 
dura alone amounted to 7,440,579 guilders, or £620,048. 

N.B. The picul of 125 lbs.= 136 lbs. 10 ounces avoirdupois. 

Physical Characteristics of Tangkuhan Prahu. 247 

Dr. Jiinghulm, he was enabled to visit all the more important 
points of geological interest in the Preanger Regency. Of 
these two highly interesting excursions, which derived an ad- 
ditional charm from the cordial hospitality of the Javanese 
princes, we borrow from Dr. Hochstetter's memoranda the 
following particulai's : — 

'• On the northern side of the table-land of Bandong, which 
is a veritable garden of Eden, hemmed in by roaring volcanic 
mountains, there rises a mountain chain 6000 feet above the 
level of the sea, and 4000 above the lofty plateau of Bandong. 
In this range three peaks are conspicuous. The native, ac- 
customed to indicate each majestic natural feature of his love- 
ly native land by some name which gives a clear idea of its 
peculiar character, or expresses the emotion it makes upon his 
senses, has named the easternmost truncated conical peak 
Gmiung Tungul (7800 feet), that is, the Broken Stump or Tree, 
and affirms that the long central ridge of Tangkuban Prahu 
(6427 feet), or the Inverted Boat, was formed by the over- 
tm-ned trunk of the tree, while the third very serrated peak, 
the Buranguang (5690 feet), or Boughs of the Tree, forms 
the crown of the tree with its branches and twigs. Only the 
long central ridge, the actual hill, though its shape would not 
readily lead us to suppose so, is at this day an active volcano. 
Its crater is one of the most extraordinary spectacles in the 
volcanic system of Java. Formerly it was necessary to follow 
in the tracks of the rhinoceroses up the sides of this moun- 
tain, and the ascent was not indeed without danger, since it 

248 Voyage of the Novara. 

occasionally happened that the traveller, while treading some 
of these funnel-shaped, narrow, tremendous defiles, miexpect- 
edly found himself at some sudden tm*n face to face with 
one of these gigantic animals, and that, with a precipice on 
one hand and a wall of rock on the other, there was no visi- 
ble means of escaping. Under such circumstances there was 
nothing for it but to fight for life and death, until the stronger 
marched over the corpse of the weaker. At present an excel- 
lent bridle-path leads from Lembang to the summit of the 
mountain, for the construction of which the community is 
indebted to Dr. Junghuhn. 

" On the morning of 18tli May we set out from Lembang 
for the summit of Tangkuban Prahu, in company with Dr. 
de Vrij. The Regent of Bandong had sent us capital horses 
of the pure Macassar race, and, followed by a crowd of well- 
disciplined Sundanese, we at length after a two hours' ride 
stood at the edge of the crater. 

" Dense clouds of va23our filled the abyss below, from which 
at a considerable depth and in various directions issued tlie 
most appalling sounds, as though hundreds of steam engines 
were sobbing at work far beneath us, or like the broken sound 
of water falling in spray from a great height upon the rocks. 
Some dead trees standing on the brink of the ab3^ss had a 
blackened appearance as though they had been charred, which 
we ascribed to the sulphureous vapours, that must be evolved 
with most destructive power when the crater is in fidl activity. 
Into this hideous abyss we now prepared to descend, by a 

Singular Double Crater^ tvith Ridc/e between. 249 

narrow, steep ledge of the rock, which gradually lost itself 
among the vapour between two perpendicular, precipitous 
walls. We followed the Javanese, who were scrambling down 
before us, having ourselves given orders to be conducted if 
possible to the bottom of the crater, and therefore continued 
on as best we could, confident that those people had already 
often descended into the depths to get themselves sulphur. 

"Fortunately the vaj^om^s dispersed during our arduous 
clamber, and there at one view lay plain before us the fearful 
chasm from its floor to the rim running round it. With 
amazement and surprise, we perceived that the ledge on 
which Ave stood was but a narrow central ridge, separating 
two deep nearly circular volcanic cauldrons, which were both 
surrounded by a lofty ellipse-shaped crater- wall ! There was 
also a singular double or twin crater. In both cavities, right 
and left, white clouds of steam rose hissing and sputtering to the 
height of the rim. In the left-hand or western crater, which 
the natives called Kawah Upas, or the Poison Crater, we per- 
ceived in the midst of the smoking solfataras a tranquil pool 
of water of a sulphur- yellow hue, while the lofty internal 
slopes of the crater, nearly 1000 feet high, were densely 
covered with brushwood, down almost to the bottom. Very 
different was the eastern crater, Katvah Ratu, or King's 
Crater ; its floor seemed to consist of dried mud, fi^om the 
clefts and springs in which steam and sulphureous vapours 
were constantly bursting impetuously fortli. The wall of 
this crater, not above 500 or 600 feet high, was naked and 

250 Voijage of the Novara. 

bare to the very summit. At the first gkmce one could 
ahnost fancy he gazed on an expanse of snow amid a green 
forest, so bleached and greyish- white did everything look, 
owing to the rocks being pulverized and changed by the 
vapours which continually issued from the soil. Above these 
white desolate masses of rock were distinguishable the black- 
ened, charred, knotted stems of bushes and trunks of trees, 
the relics of the vegetation formerly here, tokens of the last 
eruption in 1846, in which this King's Crater threw up boiling 
mud, impregnated with sulphur, besides sand and stones, till 
throughout an extended area the green forests on every side 
were killed or desolated. Already however the rich green of 
the fern, and the Thihaudia (not unlike our own whortle- 
berry), is seen shooting up amidst the bare stones, in close 
proximity to the blackened trees and shrubs, charred and 
altered by the action of the sulphureous vapours and the soil, 
impregnated as it is with sulphur. 

" Continuing to scramble forward, we reached in safety the 
floor of the Poison Crater, and had to observe the greatest 
vigilance, for the entire ground around the boiling lake in 
the crater to the steep walls consists of nothing but smoking 
solfataras, or a dense crust of sulphur, full of holes and fissures, 
over the cooled surface of which the traveller walks, con- 
stantly in danger of breaking through, not indeed into a 
fathomless abyss, but into boiling hot, bitter water, in which 
we would counsel no one to take a foot-bath. If the crust be 
broken off, there are seen shining beneath the most exquisite 

Sulphur 3Iasses. — Hot Sprm(/s or Geysers. 25 1 

lustrous crystals of sulphur. This sulphur, which is exhib- 
ited here piled up in immense masses like small hills, is 
the same as that which occasionally entices the Javanese 
into these appalling- abysses. The most powerful solfatara, 
which lies exactly in the middle ridge, and like a geyser 
throws up to a height apparently of one or two feet a column 
of boiling water, consisting in part of sulphur, is for that 
reason unapproachable by man. 

" From the Poison Crater w^e climbed over into the 
King's Crater. The hard masses of rubbish throw^n out during 
the last eruj^tion afforded firm footing here, until we got 
near the sputtering solfataras, when the hot yielding mud 
made further progress impracticable. 

'' The visit to these two craters, which change features 
from year to year, furnished much material for observation. 
It was long past noon when w^e retraced our steps upwards 
along the precipitous path by which we had descended. 
Ere long we found ourselves once more on the smnmit, pro- 
tected from the sun's vertical rays by the grateful shelter of 
the hut w^hich Jimghulm had erected here, and from which 
we could take in at one glance, in all its vast proportions, the 
entire abyss, with its two smoking craters in all their horrid 
sublimity. The oval of the exterior rim measui'es not less 
than 6000 feet in length by 3000 in breadth, and from the 
upper wall the descent sheer into the abyss is not less than 
800 feet perpendicular. 

" This was the last crater which we had an opportunity 

252, Voyage of the Novara. 

of visiting while in Java — our further peregrinations being 
directed towards the schistose formation abounding in jietri- 
factions, which is found in the S. W. mountain range of 
the table-land of Bandong. 

" On the evening of the 18th, after we had .returned from 
Tangkuban Prahu, we left Lembang, still in the company 
of Dr. de Vrij, who sacrificed his own convenience to 
accompany us throughout our interesting tour, and returned 
to Bandong. 

"Junghuhn had sketched out a second carte de voyage, 
which he had sent to the Resident of Bandong, with a request 
that this gentleman would make all necessary preparations to 
enable the projected excursion to be made in the shortest 
possible time, and for our comfort while on the road. We thus 
found everything prepared before-hand, and, after passing a 
most agreeable evening with the Resident and the Regent of 
Bandong, the latter of whom caused his dancing girls to 
execute in our presence some of their most characteristic 
national dances, we were enabled to start early the following 
morning to prosecute our journey further among the 

" Gratitude to M. Visscher, the Assistant Resident, and to 
Raden Adipata Wii'a Nata Kusuma, the Regent of Ban- 
dong,* makes it an imperative duty that we should make 

* Since this was written a number of the Dutch officials and savans at Java, 
who showed so many civilities to the Austrian travellers, were decorated by our 
Government with Austrian orders, among whom was also the Eaden Adipata Wira 
Kata Kusuma, the first native Javanese Regent ever decorated by a foreign power. The 

Luxurious Travelling Accommodation. 253 

the most ample acknowledgment for the great pains taken 
by both those gentlemen to enable us, without losing time 
consulting about other cares, to devote our entire attention to 
scientific examination. Indeed, the whole arrangements of 
this trip may be held to indicate what the Dutch Government 
is able to attain by the astute policy of leaving the executive 
power entirely in the hands of the native chiefs, and with 
what admirable exactness the despotic orders of these two 
united powers are carried into execution. 

'' The brother of the Regent of Bandong, a truly chival- 
rous soul, but imperious and full of aristocratic hauteur in 
his deportment towards the peasantry, was our companion 
and guard of honour. All our material requirements had 
been cared for by the Regent in the most luxurious profusion. 
Four servants and a special cook, together with a number 
of coolies, were sent in advance to our next designated rest- 
ing-place, sometimes in the heart of a forest, or upon a hill, 
or in a narrow defile, so that on our arrival we found our 
table already set for us. On these occasions, when there was 
no Pasanggrahan or comfortable hut at hand for our mid- 
day siesta, or for our accommodation at night, we found an 
elegant hut of bamboo and palm leaves (of which materials 

prince was extremely delighted when he was informed of it, and said he longed for 
the horn* when the imperial decoration was to arrive that he might put it on and 
wear it. Singularly enough the presents and letters of acknowledgment sent to the 
Dutch Government in the Hague for remittance, were not forwarded direct by the 
mail steamer, but as customary by saihng vessels, so that they only arrived six 
months after they were presented ! 

254 Voyage of the Novara, 

tlie Javanese construct a thousand articles of every-day use) 
newly erected, and containing dining-room, sleeping-apart- 
ment, and bath-room. In order to travel with as much ce- 
lerity as possible, our riding horses were changed three or 
four times a-day. The fresh animals were everywhere ready 
for us to mount. At those points where petrifactions were 
likely to be found collected together natives would be sent 
forward, and that not by twos and threes, but by dozens 
and twenties, who were charged to dig and collect together 
whatever was found, so that all we had to do was to select 
what we required, when we found we had a splendid col- 
lection without trouble or loss of time. Even on roads sel- 
dom frequented, in outlying districts among the mountains, 
we found everything arranged anew, and we do not exagger- 
ate when we say that between forty and fifty small bridges 
and narrow stiles made of bamboo and Avith bamboo balus- 
trades must have been constructed solely to make this path 
passable. But still more particularly we had occasion to 
remark, that when it was necessary to descend into the de- 
files, which would naturally be of special interest to a geo- 
logist on account of their explanations of the phenomena of 
nature, fresh paths had been made, and all obstacles pre- 
sented by the rocky soil overcome by means of steps cut 
in the rock or bamboo ladders ! And all this had been plan- 
ned and executed after the Regent had been informed of 
the day fixed for our departure from Bandong on our pro- 
jected tour. 

Official Travelling in Java. — Defile of the Tjitarum. 255 

'^ No fewer than tliirty-eiglit mounted Sundanese, all gaily- 
dressed in their national costume, being in fact the chiefs 
and magistrates of the district, had attached themselves to 
us with all their retinue, besides a number of porters to at- 
tend upon the cavalcade, by all of whom we were cordially 
welcomed. Towards evening we entered amid music and 
dancing into the village, which it had been arranged was to 
be our quarters for the night, and amid more music, and a 
general gathering of the population, we once more, in the 
grey dawn of the next morning, mounted our horses. Such 
is the mode of travel in Java when a Junghuhn prescribes 
the route, when a Dutch Government official issues the re- 
quisite orders, and when a native Regent carries them out. 

" On the 19th May we set off in an easterly direction 
from Bandong for the river Tjitarum. Our object was to 
explore the beautifid natural defile which is presented by 
the deep chasm which forms the bed of that stream, where 
it has forced a passage in a northerly dii'ection through a 
round-backed range of green-stone and porj)hyritic moun- 
tains which spring from the table-land of Bandong, forming 
in this part of its course the beautifril water-falls of Tjm^uk- 
Kapek, Tjuruk-Lanong, and Tjuruk-Djombong. In close 
proximity to the very oldest volcanic formations of Java, one 
sees here, laid bare by the river, lofty walls of the latest 
fresh-water strata of the plateau of Bandong. We now rode 
through the porphyritic ridge to the rocky cone of Batu- 
Susun, on the flank of the Gunung Bulut, formed of vast 

256 Voyage of the Novara. 

columns of a sort of porphyritic green-stone, and the same 
evening reached Tjililui, the chief town of the district named 
Rongga, owing to its richness in petrifactions. Not greater 
was our surprise at our exceedingly hospitable reception, 
than at beholding, as we sat down to our evening meal in 
the Pasanggrahan where we were stopping, a huge table 
drawn forth, loaded with petrifactions and geological speci- 
mens, which the Wedanah had collected, and which, classified 
according to a chart of the district which he had himself 
prepared, he now placed at our disposal. The name of this 
spirited Sundanese is Mas Djaja Bradja, Wedanah of Tjililui. 
'' On the 20th we inspected the spot itself where these 
are fomid. By daybreak we were en route for the chalk- 
kilns of Liotji Tjangkang, where a coral bank, abounding in 
petrifactions, lies full in view from the summit of an adjoining 
eminence. Hence we directed our steps in a S.E. direction, 
getting deeper into the mountains, in the neighbourhood of 
Gonnong Gatu, renowned for the numbers of tigers which 
range the immense wilderness of atlang grass {Imperata 
Altang\ which now forms the covering of these mountains, 
utterly denuded as they are of their original vegetation, and 
in which they find plenty of prey among the stags, wild 
boars, and buffaloes. Hunting however was not our object, 
but the succession of chasms, 100 feet deep, worn through the 
soft pumice and trachytic tufas by the action of the Tji- 
Lanang and its little tributary streams; First we had to 
scramble down to the confluence of the Tji-Burial and 

Great Falls of the Tji-Tarum, near Tji-Jahang. 257 

the Tji-Tangkil, where, in close proximity to the dykes of 
trachyte, several well-preserved conchylia were found amid 
the rubbish that had been detached from the sides of this 
cavity, which are composed of a sort of muddy tufa. 
After riding at full speed through a thinly-inhabited mountain 
district, in order to avoid an impending thunder-storm, we 
luckily reached the little mountain village of Gunung-Alu, 
lying on the Tji-Dadass, at the foot of a mountain ridge, 
which forms the water-shed between the northern and south- 
ern coasts of Java. 

" On 2 1st- May we set off for the valley of the Tji-Lanang, 
which stretches beneath the steep sandstone acclivities of 
the Gunung Sela, another spot where petrifactions are ex- 
ceedingly abundant, and where the remains of the fossils may 
be observed in the position they originally occupied, im- 
bedded in the strata of mud and sandstone. A species of 
fossil resin is also frequently found there, in juxtaposition 
with other beautiful fossils. From this point we followed the 
valley of the Tji-Lanang in a northerly direction, and on 
quitting it we came upon a little traversed road leading to 
tlie valley of the Tji-Tjamotha, at the calcareous-brecciose 
rocks of Batu-Kakapa, and still further on reached the moun- 
tainous village of Tji-Jabang, whence we descended once 
more to the river Tji-Tarum, which at this point passes 
tln-ough a narrow cleft in the rock, more than a thousand 
feet deep, forming thus the grandest waterfall in Java, as it 
breaks through the western barrier range of the plateau 

VOL. n. 

258 Voyage of tlie Novara. 

of Bandong, consisting of porpliyritic-greenstone, trachytic- 
basalt, and perpendicular cliffs of clialk. Below tliis, after 
a series of sj^lendid cascades, it becomes a navigable stream, 
flowing gently over tlie terrace of Radjamandala. 

" The majestic scale of the natural scenery of Java is 
seen fully developed in these savage, awful rocky defiles, 
shaded by primeval forest, and haunted by every description 
of wild animal. There are three points of special Interest, 
Tjukang-Raon, Tjuruk-Almion, and Sangjang-Holut, at any 
of which one may study In the very bowels of the earth the 
geognostical structure of the Lanang chain, where the river 
has burst through. These points lie quite near to each other 
on the edge of the stream which here frets In its channel, hem- 
med closely by the rocks, but in order to reach any one of 
them It is always necessary to retrace one's steps to the 
village of Tjijabang, on the plateau of the mountain, and 
thence scramble down and up again the precipitous rocky wall 
in height from 1000 to 1600 feet ! One can readily be- 
lieve what Jungliuhn writes in 1854, that ' although Tjurak- 
Almion ' (dust or vapour fall) ' is the grandest waterfall In 
Java, no European had, as yet, visited the spot but himself.' 
It was here especially that we had occasion to notice what 
pains the natives had taken to render the various localities 
more accessible. We found fresh-hewn steps, ladders, and 
Rotang ropes, and thus we were enabled, so to speak, to 
tread in the footsteps of Jungliuhn. 

"On the 21st we could only visit the Tjuruk-Baon, 

The TJiiruk-Almion, or " Dust FalV 259 

whore tlie Tji-Tarum, raging along in its entire volume, is 
compelled to pass through a gate of rock not above 12 feet 
wide. A frail-looking bamboo ladder, with Rotang ropes 
suspended on either side at a dizzy elevation above, leads 
down the perpendicular walls of this stone portal. 

''■ On the morning of the 22nd we visited Tjuruk-Almion, 
the finest waterfall of the Tji-Tarum, which is here precipi- 
tated over a precipice of greenstone forty feet in height, and 
thence, after passing the steep basaltic chain of Gunung- 
Lanang, we descended from a height of 2653 Paris feet, into 
the deepest part (990 Paris feet above sea-level) of the chasm 
formed by volcanic eruption in the mountain Sangjang- 
Holut, where close to the steep broken rim, and in juxtaposi- 
tion to the tertiary formations on the level of Radjamandala, 
the perpendicular sandstone banks of the river leave a 
passage only 10 feet in width. 

" The same day we resiched the little village of Gua, at 
the foot of the northern side of Gunmig Nungnang, an 
enormous mass of limestone, whose steep sides form a 
portion of the extensive limestone barrier, which bounds 
the table-land of Radjamandala to the southward. Gunung 
Nungnang is traversed by fissures and clefts from top to 
bottom, in which the Salangan swallow builds edible nests, 
which the natives gather for the Regent, not without peril to 

'' On the 23rd May we carefully explored Sangjang Tji- 
Koro, a limestone-hill, tln'ough which one arm of the Tji- 

s 2 

i6o Voyage of the Novara. 

Tarum, after it has burst through the barrier-ridge, flows in 
a subterranean channel ; interesting in a geological point of 
view, because at this point we find the very same limestone 
rocks which in an upright position form the structure of the 
hill, lying horizontally on the flat plain of Radjamandala, on the 
opposite bank of this brook. At Radjamandala we once more 
struck the main road, and found our travelling chaise ready, 
which conveyed us to Tjiandjur, and thence back to Batavia." 
While the geologist of our Expedition was occupied in the 
excursion above described, the commodore and his com- 
panions witnessed a most interesting spectacle in an ethno- 
graphical point of view. The Javanese Regent of Tjiandjur 
prepared a great fete, to which all the populace were invited, 
in the great hall of the palace, where a variety of entertain- 
ments, games, and dramatic representations took place. Here, 
as at Bandong, the interior of the house was entirely fur- 
nished in the European fashion, and only the ear-splitting, 
deafening tones of the gamelong,* the stout, bustling female 
house-keeper, who, richly apparelled and wearing yellow 
unmentionables, did the honours with a somewhat waddling 
gait, and the Oriental dress of the Regent, behind whom a 
couple of Javanese servants, crouched on their hams, carry- 
ing a neatly-carved silver box of exquisite workmanship, 
containing the ingredients for the betel, recalled to our 
recollection that we were in Java, in the residence of a 


* A genuine Javanese musical instrument, consisting of a number of bells aJl 
diiTereuLly tuned, which are struck with tw3 small bamboo-sticks. 

Javanese Fete. — What Dancing is among Orientat Nations. 261 

native prince. The stiff, troublesome formalities of the 
Dutcli were outdone by those of the Javanese : nay, so 
great is the observance of etiquette by these people, that even 
the nearest relatives of the house are fain to take up their 
place in the verandah or colonnade which runs round the 
house, but do not dare venture into the saloon itself. In 
this latter, besides the Regent and his consort, there were 
only the European guests invited, while the people tlnronged 
tlie doors and windows as spectators of what was going 
on. The fete began with some very monotonous, infinitely 
tedious dances executed by the Bayaderes. In the choreo- 
graphic art, despite the important part which dancing plays 
in their religious worship, the Javanese, like all the other 
populations of Asia, lag far behind the natives of the north. 
True, the dance with them has a widely different meaning, 
compared with that which we attach to it, who waltz and 
polka away in joyous, frolicsome mood, whereas the Asiatics, 
tiie Malay and the Hindoo, also dance during seasons of 
grief and anguish ; with them dancing is nothing but a mode 
of expressing their feelings, whether these be grave or gay, 
joyous or sad. And so deeply is this custom implantea 
among the colom*ed races, that we have ourselves seen in 
Costa Rica Indian jjarents, who had been converted to 
Christianity, dancing before the dead body of their child, 
which was about beino^ committed to consecrated earth.* 

* Die Republic Costa Rica, in Central-America, mit besonderer Beriicksichtigung 
der Naturverhaltnisse, und dor frage dor deutsichen Answanderung uud Colonisation. 

262 Vojjage of the Novara. 

The figures of the dance performed by tlie Javanese 
dancing-girls were nothing but a series of very slow rigid 
movements of advance and retreat, in the course of which 
they went through all sorts of attitudes and contortions with 
their hands and fingers. We were informed that these 
dancers were representing four sisters who were searching for 
their lost mother, and by their various postures and figuring 
hoped to obtain her again from the deity. This exhibition 
was succeeded by a war-dance, performed by eight maidens 
clothed as warriors, which however scarcely differed from 
the former, and was not less tedious, These dancers all ap- 
peared in extremely elegant richly-appointed dresses, which 
unfortunately only made the ugliness of their features more 
disagreeably conspicuous. Amid all these representations 
the deep boom of the gamelong almost unceasingly resound- 
ed in our ears, being struck, evidently for the purpose of 
stunning the senses, by a crowd of Javanese cowering on 
the ground with tlieir feet crossed beneatli them, while from 
without there fell on our ear the tunes of a brass band, 
especially noticeable by its overpowering penetrating sound. 
About 10 p. M. a number of rockets and fire- wheels were let 
off, and a disorderly crowd of maskers, on horse and foot, to 
tlie great delight of the assembled populace, made their 
appearance and marched about a dozen times round the 
great room. The chief honours of the entire procession were 

Reisestudien und Reiseskizzen aus den Jahren 1S53 und 1854. Von Ur. M. Wagnei* 
and Dr. Karl Scherzer. Leipzig, Arnold'sche Buchhandlung. 1856. S. 196 — 197. 

Curious expiatory Service. 263 

reserved for a transparent serpent, at least 20 feet long, 
which was borne along in the air by six or eight youths, 
who imitated with sui^prising address the wiiggling motions 
of that lithe reptile. 

To a European observer, however, what was going on in 
one corner of the great room seemed far more extraordinary 
and surprising. A number of native fanatics were standing 
here round a heap of red-hot coals and ashes, before which a 
Mahometan priest, holding in his hand a small open book, 
was murmm'ing a prayer, accompanied by doleful cries and 
unintelligible groans. Several natives sprang barefooted 
into the fire, and turned about several times in its midst. 
The priest also, singing and praying the while, skipped upon 
the red-hot floor, apparently with tlie intention of inciting the 
by-standers to yet further exertions. The whole exhibition 
bore the character of being a form of religious expiation, 
although it was carried on amid all the noise and fun of a 
popular festival. 

A still more painful impression was made by several 
Javanese, who placed iron circlets set with fine sharp points 
on the cheeks, forehead, and eyes, and thus accoutred, 
twisted their bodies about in every conceivable direction, as 
though they were striving all they could to di'ill deep into 
their flesh with this heavy iron instrument. The leading 
idea contemplated in this rude fearsome exhibition, seems, 
however, to have been simply to amuse a circle of cm-ious 
spectators, and gain their applause. 

264 Voyage of the Novara. 

The Javanese Regent, Radlien Adliipati Aria Kusuma 
Ningrat, who gave this fete, a tall, robust man, of about fifty 
years of age, is held in high esteem by the inhabitants of his 
district, not alone for his political worth, but also for his 
intellectual qualities. He is an author and a poet, and 
availed himself of the opportunity to present to the foreign 
guests his last poem, an epic. 

Early on the morning of the 17th the entire company of 
travellers set out from Tjiandjur on their return to Batavia 
by the Java road, by which they had come. The naturalists, 
too, did not leave the capital of the Preanger Residency 
without substantial tokens of amity, since a medical gentle- 
man settled there. Dr. I. Ch. Ploem, presented them with a 
number of interesting specimens, botanical and zoological, 
and not alone enriched their collections in natural history 
with many new objects, but also promised in future to main- 
tain an active interchange of objects of scientific interest with 
the museum of the Empire-city on the Danube. 

The journey back to Buitenzorg, despite a tremendous 
thunder-storm, accompanied by such a shower as is only en- 
countered in the tropics, was nevertheless pretty quickly got 
over, and even one trifling adventure which was encountered 
on the way — in the course of which one of the travelling 
carriages fell into a ditch on one side of the road, near Mega- 
mendung, in consequence of which the coachman and attend- 
ants were somewhat injured by their sudden precipitation 
from tlie box — liad no more serious ulterior consequences than 

Strict Etiquette observed hy the Governor- General. 16^ 

that we had to get out of the carriage for a short space under 
a deluge of rain, so as to admit of its being more readily put 
into running order again. Despite the inclemency of the 
weather we were on this occasion accompanied on horseback 
by the magistrates of the villages through which we passed, 
and although man}^ of these were shivering and chattering 
with the wet and cold, they were nevertheless inexorable in 
assisting to send us forward, and though not required to do 
so, accompanied us to our next station, where their place was 
supi^lied by others not less attentive. , 

AVliile still on the road, the commodore and several mem- 
bers of the Expedition received an invitation from the Go- 
vernor-general to stop at his summer residence of Buitenzorg, 
and to make it for some 'days their resting-place. It was 
unfortunate, that this display of hospitality was somewhat 
weakened in cordiality by a too rigid observance of those 
minor matters of etiquette, which his Excellency seemed to 
think he could not afford to dispense with even in his quiet, 
miostentatious country-seat. The stringent observance of 
such unbending measured ceremony is tlie more remarkable, 
in the case of a man who has raised himself from an obscure 
grade of citizenship to this lofty post, and who does not even 
indulge in that lavish expense or profuse luxury, which 
would at least be in harmony with the ceremonial usages 
with wliich he surrounds himself. M. Van Pahud came to 
Batavia about twenty years before, as a school-master, and 
ere long, having become an employd in the civil service, 

266 Vofjai/e of the Novara. 

secured through his administrative caj^acity, and restless 
activity, tlie confidence and sympathies of the Government, 
was somewhat later appointed Colonial Minister in Holland, 
and finally, in 1856, Governor-general of the Dutch East 
Indies. The introduction of the quinquina plant from Peru 
and its present extension tlu'oughout Java, are his chief 
claims to recognition. 

As M. Van Pahud is a widower, the honours of his mansion 
were performed by his daughter, a lady in delicate health, 
who a few years previously had the distressing trial of be- 
holding her husband, who filled one of the most important 
posts as Resident at a Regency in the interior, cut down be- 
fore her eyes by a Malay ! 

We spent a couple of days in this charming retreat of 
Buitenzorg, whose botanical garden ever unfolded fresh 
beauties, and had the pleasure on this, as on the occasion of 
our first visit, to make several most agreeable acquaintances. 
A deep interest attaches to our visit to Madame Hartmanu, 
the widow of a former Resident in Borneo, who possesses a 
small but every way remarkable collection of ethnographic 
objects illustrative of that island, and who not alone had 
the thoughtful courtesy to show us all these treasures of 
natural history, but even presented us with a considerable 
portion of them. The writer of this account felt himself in 
an especial degree under obligation to this excellent lady 
for a number of skeletons of the various races of men inhabit- 
ing that island, which it would have been exceedingly 

Frequency of Capital Pimishmenf. 267 

difficult to procui'c otherwise. There existed but one 
object in this anthropological collection with which 
Madame Hartmann would not part : this was the skull of a 
China-man, who, during the fearful insurrection of these 
emigrants in Borneo in 1819, made a mm^derous onslaught 
on her husband, whose servants fortunately succeeded in 
rendering timely aid by cutting the miscreant down. 

Early on 20tli May we quitted Buitenzorg. On the 
same morning two crmiinals accused of murder and robbery 
were brought thither. Although the punishment of death is 
only inflicted in cases of extreme atrocity, yet we were in- 
formed that in the capital scarcely a month passes without 
the infliction of this last penalty. 

On our return to Batavia we once more found ourselves 
the objects of that charming hospitality, to which we are 
indebted for the memory of many most agreeable hours. 

There was one gentleman in particular, a German country- 
man. Colonel Von Schierbrand, 'who has lived nearly thii-ty 
years in Java, and at present holds the high position of head 
of the Engineer department and President of the Topo- 
graphical Institute, who most hospitably entertained the 
voyagers of the Novara in his elegant, comfortable dwelling, and 
arranged a variety of amusements and agreeable receptions.* 

* Colonel Von Schierbrand, to whom natural science is already under deep 
obligations for acquiring a variety of valuable objects, is constantly and indefati- 
gably endeavouring, both as a friend of knowledge and a zealous sportsman, to procure, 
sometimes by personal exertion, sometimes by employing natives engaged at his own 
expense, a series of rare geological specimens. He appears to be, like so many other 

268 . Voyage of the Novara. 

Among these, tlie gentlemen wlio took part In it will long have 
a special recollection of a limiting party, which, owing to 
the great interest taken by all classes of the community near 
the seat of action, abounding in antelopes and wild hogs, 
became ultimately a regular ovation and popular festival. 
At various points arches covered with leaves were erected, 
flags fluttered to the breeze on every side, and all along our 
path the inhabitants, gaily attired, formed a dense array 
lining the road ; while the evening was whiled away in the 
elegantly furnished mansion of a Chinese, the Mayor of his 
district, by Javanese dancing-girls, who performed a variety 
of national dances to the monotonous, lugubrious sound of 
the gamelong and other musical instruments, after which 
there was a comedy, the whole winding up with Chinese 
fire-works on the grandest scale. 

Another splendid entertainment was got up in honour of 
the Novara Expedition by the military " Concordia" society, 
in their large, handsome assembly-room in Weltevreden. 
The dancing-hall was tastefully fitted up, adorned with blue 
and green hangings and particoloured flags, while over the 
entrance was suspended a portrait of our Emperor. In the 
back-ground of the saloon there was set up in front of a trans- 
parency an elegant boat, with an Austrian flag at the gaff, and 

of our excellent friends in Java, a living contradiction to the proverb, " Out of sight, 
out of mind," as he has since the return of the Expedition already sent over as pre- 
sents to the museums of our native country, valuable selections of curious objects of 
natural history from the Indian Archipelago. 

Splendid Entertainment by the " Concordia " Society. 269 

carrying a cannon crowned with flowers and nautical emblems, 
all artistically designed and executed. The stewards all 
wore red and white ribbons round their dress, while the 
rich attire of the ladies consisted principally of stuffs in the 
Austrian colours. Wlien the commander of the Expedition 
entered the saloon with his staff, the band struck up the 
Austrian National Hymn. The whole festivity went off 
most agreeably, and the majority of the company, which 
numbered about 800 guests, kept it up till day-break. Both 
Dutch and Austrian officers vied with each other in making 
this a truly fraternal feast. Still as the band played on, 
there seemed no end to the fun and frolic, and one pair of 
joyous spirits suddenly bethought them of the droll idea of 
hauling the cannon ''with all its honours thick upon it" 
through the apartment, with a not less fr^olicsome comrade 
sitting astride it, singing and shouting ! Unluckily, during 
this peregrination one of the Dutch officers fell under the 
wheel, and had his thigh broken near the knee. The un- 
fortunate had to be conveyed to the hospital forthwith, 
where for weeks he could ruminate upon the consequences of 
a moment's misplaced revelry. This gentleman, singularly 
enough, had just retired home and gone to bed, when a 
couple of his comrades insisted on his accompanying them, 
amid much cheering and noise, back to the apartment, where 
the accident happened to him ! 

One remarkable character in Batavia, whose acquaintance 
we only made dui'ing the latter days of our stay, is Radhen 

270 Voyage of the Novara. 

Saleli, a Javanese of high birth, and princely descent, who, 
born in 1816 at Djokjokarta in the interior of the island, was 
at the expense of the Dutch Government brought to Europe 
when a boy of 14, where he lived for a long time at the Hague, 
and afterwards in Dresden and Paris, turning his attention 
chiefly to painting, and who, after 23 years' absence, liad return- 
ed to Java shortly before our arrival. Raden Saleh, who speaks 
and writes several European languages with fluency, draws a 
not inconsiderable sum yearly from the Colonial Government, 
by way of remuneration for pictures which he is from time to 
time commissioned to paint for Government House. At the 
period of our visit the artist was busy engaged in executing 
for the King of Holland a large oil-painting, representing a 
stag-hunt on the plain of Mundschul, in the Preanger Re- 
gency, at the foot of the Malabar range. The composition, 
the landscape, the aerial perspective, the attitudes and group- 
ing of the mounted huntsmen, gave evidence of uncommon 
talent, which unfortunately, however, has not been cultivated 
to that extent as to enable him to stamp all his ^performances 
with the impress of artistic perfection. Radhen Saleli cher- 
ishes a warm feeling for Germany, wliich even his placid, de- 
lightful residence among the Eden-like landscapes of his own 
native land has not been able to weaken. " I owe so much 
to Germany," he would say to us; "my thoughts and my 
feelings ever revert to Germany ! " It seemed that in his case, 
as in that of the young negro prince, Aquasie Boachi, of the 

Singular Custom in the Barracks. i']i 

Gold Coast, considerations of health were the main reason for 
his rctui'n to the Dutch East Indies. 

The last days of our stay at Batavia we devoted to an in- 
spection of various public institutions. First of all we care- 
fully examined the barracks, which present several points of 
special interest. Major Smits was so kind as to accompany 
us over the extensive grounds, in which were at the time some 
800 men. The soldiers are all volunteers, and consist of 
about 250 whites, and 600 of the various coloured races of 
the Malay Ai'chipelago. The wliite troops sleep in beds, the 
coloured upon wooden settles covered with mosquito-nets. 
Each soldier is allowed to have his wife beside Imn, and it is 
affirmed that this extraordinary practice tends to make them 
more orderly and regular, by accustoming them more speedily 
to life in the barrack, which thus becomes for them a sort of 
small town ! The women for their part prove highly service- 
able as cooks, washerwomen, vendors of edibles, &c., and man- 
age a sort of small market for each company, where the soldier 
can find every tiling he may require for satisfying his usually 
very moderate wants. 

Major Smits ordered a number of the soldiers, representa- 
tives of the most important Malay t^q^es, to be submitted to a 
series of anthropometrical measurements, and made a present 
to the Expedition of a number of objects of ethnogi^aphical 

In company with Dr. Steenstra Toussaint, an ardent and 

272 Voyage of the Novara. 

amiable companion, we visited the various prisons, and the 
Loar-Badang,* of evil repute, which will be discussed in the 
medical section of the Novara publications. 

The prisons of Batavia stand in much need of reform, espe- 
cially as regards construction^ management, and treatment. 
The humane sentiments that characterize our century, have 
more care even for a robber or mm'derer than to load him 
with chains, and make him still more dangerous to society, 
by lengthened confinement within the thick lofty walls of a 
prison. There are two categories, into which all criminals in 
Java are divided, those who during the entire term of their 
sentence are to remain within the prison, and those who 
during the day are employed outside the prison on the public 
works, most of whom wear an iron ring round their neck, or 
chains on their hands or feet, whence they are usually termed 
" chain-gang " prisoners. 

In the city Bridewell, where the criminals serve their sen- 
tences in cells, there is room for 200, and at the time of our 
visit there were 70 male and two female prisoners in confine- 
ment. The disagreeable impression made at finding such an 
establishment located in an exceedingly unhealthy site, is any- 
thing but diminished when the visitor perceives that it con- 
sists mainly of a large number of narrow corridors and high 

* The Loar-Badang (Public Market) is an immense building, a sort of brothel on 
a large scale, kept by a Frenchman, who pays a handsome annual sum to Government 
for the privilege of his infamous traffic. Here, among others, are some 40 or 50 
wretched outcasts, whom he sends off in boats every evening to the merchantmen in 
the port, for the accoumiodation of their crews ! ! ! 

Prison Statistics of Batuvia. 273 

walls running parallel with each other at short distances, be- 
tween which the prisoners, in divisions of from six to ten, are 
confined in small cells, two occasionally inhabiting the same 
cell. Those condemned to imprisonment for debt are shut 
up in a special compartment, apart from the common run of 
criminals, but in respect of accommodation and general treat- 
ment are in no respect better off than the latter. The law 
permits the incarceration of a debtor for three years, but the 
creditor is compelled to pay 10 guilders a month (£10 per 
annum), to defray the cost of his maintenance. It is illustra- 
tive of the Chinese character, and its speculative propensities, 
that hardly any of that nation are to be found on the crimi- 
nal side, whereas they furnish the longest quota of those im- 
prisoned for debt. We saw one Javanese woman, who of her 
own free will submitted to be imprisoned with her husband 
who had been condemned to several years' incarceration, al- 
though she could only communicate with him in the presence 
of witnesses, and had to live in an entirely different part of 
the building. 

In the prison where the '' chain-gangers" were confined, 
there were 170 prisoners.* Owing to the circumstance that 
those committed in Batavia are draughted off to the prisons in 
the interior, while those sentenced in the provinces are sent 

* According to official return, the number of criminals, in the year 1857, convicted in 
the islands of Java and Madura, was 3S64, of whom 198 were females and 955 were 
sentenced to the chain-gang. In the year 1857 alone, 2525 coloured criminals were 
sentenced to hard labour, with or without chains. The number of convictions in the 
Dutch East Indies, exclusive of Java and Madura, amounted in the same year to 4430. 

274 Voyage of the Novara. 

to fulfil their sentences in the prisons of Batavia, the stranger 
encounters in these latter numerous peculiar types of natives 
from the various districts of Java and the adjoining islands, 
and this rare opportunity was made use of by myself and Dr. 
Schwarz to obtain some corporeal measurements of individuals 
presenting the characteristics of their respective races, as had 
already been done in the barracks. 

Dr. Toussaint presented the Expedition with several patho- 
logical preparations, as also with one curiosity rather of his- 
torical than scientific interest, namely, the skull of a man, 
found a few years before in the maw of a shark which had 
been picked up dead at sea ! 

A very singular impression was left on us by a visit we 
paid to " Meester Cornelis," a sort of bazaar in the outskirts 
of Batavia, where a singular phase of life may be seen nightly 
in full activity. On a wide open square are a large number of 
booths, in which are sold all sorts of eatables and drinkables, 
while there is at the same time no lack of dancing-girls, Java- 
nese musicians, opium-dens, gambling "hells," and other 
breeding-places of human depravity. The majority of its 
frequenters are Chinese, who spend here in the most extrava- 
gant manner what they have earned during the day. They 
especially affect the filthy little closets, where for a couple of 
doits (a halfpenny English) they can lie stretched out in a 
pitiable state of stupefaction, the result of opium smoking, but 
are likewise by no means backward in patronizing the gam- 
bling booths. A group of these half-naked children of the 

Chinese Amusements. — French Opera. 275 

Celestial Empire, seated in a circle on the ground amid the 
flare of torches and lamps, each holding in his lean hand a 
pair of greasy, well-worn cards, and with a little heap of cop- 
per or silver pieces spread out before him, following the 
chances of the game with a wild eagerness that makes him 
utterly heedless of what is passing around him, presents a 
spectacle of such powerful interest, that the beholder, especially 
if a foreigner, likes to remain amid a scene so peculiar, despite 
its repulsiveness. The most melancholy consideration per- 
haps of all is that this form of dissipation seems by no means 
indigenous to Java, but was first introduced with many other 
forms of vice under the influence of foreign civilization. 

For the observant traveller, a visit to such so-called '■'• places 
of amusement " possesses a far deeper interest than theatres 
or operas, which one may see and hear among the various 
settlements in this Archipelago. Such wandering companies, 
even those which are as highly remunerated as the 
" troupes " who minister to the aesthetic tastes of the wealthy 
inhabitants of the countries beyond sea,* or rather to an 
indispensable fashion, must awaken among European visitors 
melancholy reminiscences of vanished triumphs of art. 
Thus Batavia, during our stay, could boast a French operatic 
company. The theatre, lofty and air}^, though of but one 
storey, without either boxes or gallery, had far more the 

* Thus the " Prima donna" receives for tragic opera 1500 guilders (£125), and for 
comic opera 1800 guilders (£150) per month during the season. The " troupe" is 
usually engaged for a year and a half or two years together. 

T 2 

2,76 Voyage of the Novara. 

appearance of a concert-room tlian a regular theatre. The 
rather heavy cost was defrayed by lotteries, which were set 
on foot by the Colonial Government from time to time for 
the behoof of the funds of the theatre. Several of the 
*' cantatrices " carry on simultaneously with their engage- 
ments a lucrative business in French articles for the toilette, 
while the men-singers give instruction in vocalization, by 
which they not merely eke out their living, but contribute 
handsomely to the annoyance of their next-door neighbours. 

There is but little sociability in Batavia. The people live 
in a thoroughly retired manner, each usually receiving only a 
small circle of friends in his own house. On this point, as 
on many others, our own experience is directly contrary to the 
actual state of matters, seeing that during our entire stay 
one invitation followed on the heels of another ; — but those 
who live here for years together, even under the most favour- 
able auspices, have repeatedly assured us that life in Batavia 
is unsociable and tedious. 

This is the misfortune of all countries ''beyond sea," 
where Europeans do not settle permanently, but flock thither 
with the intention, after a certain number of years of 
industry and activity, of returning home with a fortune made 
by their own personal exertions. We see this in Brazil, in 
the West Indies, in the Western coast of South America ; in a 
word, in all tropical or sub-tropical countries where, on 
account of climatic considerations, the greater part of the 
European population is changed every ten years, and is 

The drawback to European Civilization in the Tropics. 277 

recruited by fresh arrivals from Europe. How out of place, 
accordingly, docs social or intellectual life appear in such 
countries, as compared with the colonies settled in temperate 
climates, in North America, at the Cape, in Australia, in 
New Zealand, in all of which the immigrant population is of 
a fixed character, building up for themselves a second home, 
and clinging with love and gratitude to the soil that gives 
them sustenance, and on which their sons will grow up, under 
the invigorating influences of free institutions, into free, 
prosperous, self-relying men ! 

Even in Batavia the majority of the European residents 
change every eight or ten years ; instances such as that of 
Colonel von Schierbrand, of men who during 30 years have 
never once left the island, never yet seen a railroad, being of 
rare occurrence. 

Of the numerous friends whom we were so" fortunate as 
to make during our stay in Java, and to whom such heart- 
felt thanks are due for their hospitality and the warm interest 
they took in the objects of our Expedition,* many have 
since left the island for ever, and by their return to Europe 
left many a lamentable vacancy. t The more deserving 

* Of these we cannot refrain from mentioning Dr. Van den Broek, who shortly 
before our arrival had returned from Japan, where he had resided seven years as 
physician and Government agent. Dr. Van den Broek, who is at present engaged 
in the editing a dictionary of the Dutch and Japanese languages, presented us with 
a botanical work in Japanese with numerous wood-cuts, and at the same time was 
so exceedingly kind as to present us with a small vocabulary of the Court and the 
popular dialects used in Japan. 

t Among scientific circles in Batavia the recent departure of the renowned 
ichthyologist. Dr. Bleeker, who intends to settle in Holland or Germany, will be the 

278 Voyage of the Novara. 

of acknowledgment is the constant endeavour of the present 
Colonial Government to attract to itself fresh intelligence, 
and so not alone stimulate the scientific activity of the pre- 
sent, but also provide for the filling up of tlie various posts 
by properly qualified persons. The magnificent and ex- 
pensive works which have been published of late years in 
Java by men of science, are the splendid fruit of that noble- 
minded support, and it is much to be regretted that the 
Government does not extend this liberality to their political 
system, — that despite the glorious example in their own im- 
mediate neighbourhood of the results of English Free Trade, 
Government still cramps the energies of the colony with 
monopolies and privileges, and thereby checks the develop- 
ment of a country, which, alike by its position and its mani- 
fold natural advantages, bids fair to be one of the wealthiest 
and most prosperous countries in the world. 

At seven a.m. on the 29th May, the Novara weighed an- 
chor in the roads of Batavia, after a stay of 23 days. Our 
next visit was to be paid to the Philippine Archipelago, — to 
the flourishing island of Luzon, or rather to Manila, the most 
important settlement in the entire group. This was the 
pleasantest trip throughout the whole voyage. The distance, 
some 1800 nautical miles, was achieved in 17 days, with de- 
lightful weather, and balmy south-west monsoons.* By the 

more appreciated, that this resolve will be regarded by his numerous European 
friends as a satisfactory a&surance that the valuable materials relating to natural 
history which he has collected will ere long make their appearance in a suitable 

* Voyagers between Batavia and Manila must not, however, always expect to 

First View of Manila. 279 

14tli June we were in sight of tlie coast of Luzon, and on 
the following day we ran on before the freshening monsoon 
into the broad, beautiful gulf of Manila. As we passed be- 
tween the rock La Monja (the Nun) and '' El Corregidor,'' 
or Governor's Island, which lie right in the channel, we met 
the Cleopatra, a large English screw- steamer, which had a 
freight of 1150 Chinese, who Avere to be imported into 
the Havanna as so-called " free " labourers. These poor 
wi'etches came from Amoy, and, as we afterwards learned, 
had been put on board so scantily provided, and so little 
cared for by the authorities, that thus early, during the voy- 
age from Amoy to Manila, only 700 miles, eleven of these 
" passengers " had died, and the captain found himself com- 
pelled to bear up for the nearest harbour in consequence of 
a sort of malignant fever having broken out on board, so 
virulent that there were deaths occurring almost every day. 
We shall treat more particularly of this hideous trade in men, 
which is chiefly carried on by the Portuguese, when describ- 
ing our visit to Macao. 

The Bay of Manila is a beautiful land-locked basin, of 
such splendid proportions that when we had passed Governor's 
Island the city of Manila was still below the horizon. We 
anchored on the afternoon of 18th June in the harbour of 
Cavite (seven nautical miles south of Manila), because during 

make so rapid a voyage. In Manila we fell in with a ship-captain, who had left 
Batavia in April, and, owing to the prevalence of calms and contrary winds, had been 
59 days on the passage ! 

2 8o Voyage of the Novara. 

the S.W. monsoon this harbour is more sheltered, and 
therefore safer for ships, tlian the shallow open roadstead of 
the capital. Cavite, which boasts a fort, an arsenal, a dock- 
yard, and a cigar manufactory, lies on a low, narrow tongue 
of land projecting into the bay. Whoever may have first set 
foot at Cavite, on the soil of the Island of Luzon, so renowned 
for its natural magnificence of scenery, must involuntarily 
feel that his anticipations have been sorely disappointed ; he 
will with all possible diligence make the best of his way 
from the glaring white sands and black walls of the fortress 
here to Manila, the next object of our hopes. A small screw 
plies daily between Cavite and the last-named city, and this 
vessel also conveyed the Expeditionists from Cavite to the 
capital of the Philippine Archipelago. 

Stat feom 15tu to 25Tn June, 1858. 


istorical notes relating to the Philippines. — From Cavite to Manila. — The ? ] 
river Pasig. — First impressions of the city. — Its inhabitants. — Tagales and "- 
Negritoes. — Preponderating influence of Monks. — Visit to the four chief monas- 
teries. — Conversation with an Augustine Monk. — Grammars and Dictionaries of 
the idioms chiefly in use in Manila. — Reception by the Governor-general of the 
Philippines. — Monument in honour of Magelhaens. — The " Calzada." — Cock- 
fighting. — " Fiestas Reales." — Causes of the languid trade with Europe hitherto. — 
Visit to the Cigar-manufactories. — Tobacco cultivation in Luzon and at the 
Havanna. — Abaca, or Manila hemp. — Excursion to the " Laguna de Bay." — A 
row on the river Pasig. — The village of Patero.— Wild-duck breeding. — Sail on 
the Lagoon. — Plans for canalization. — Arrival at Los Banos. — Canoe-trip on the 
" enchanted sea." — Alligators. — Kalong Bats. — Gobernador and Gobernadorcillo. 
— The Poll-tax. — A hunt in the swamps of Calamba. — Padre Lorenzo. — Return to 
Manila. — The " Pebete." — The military Library. — The civil and military Hospital. 
— Ecclesiastical processions. — Ave Maria. — Tagalian merriness.— Condiman. — 
Lunatic A.sylum. — Gigantic serpent thirty-two years old. — Departure.— Chinese 
pilots. — First glimpse of the coasts of the Celestial Empire. — The Lemmas 
Channel. — Arrival in Hong-kong Harbour. 

Luzon, or Manila, the largest and most important island, 
politically speaking, of the Philippine Archipelago, is the sole 
possession of the Spanish Crown which was visited by the 

282 Voyage of the Novara. 

Novara during lier numerous traverses and diagonal tracks 
on her voyage round the world. As we had hitherto come 
into contact for the most part with the Anglo-Saxon race and 
its colonies, it was naturally doubly interesting to have an 
opportunity of becoming likewise acquainted with the results 
of civilization and colonization as exemplified by what are 
called the Romaic or Latin branches of the great Caucasian 
family, and by personal examination to satisfy ourselves in 
what fashion the Castilians have succeeded in identifying 
their own advantages with those of the natives of these 
islands. True it is, that the history of the earlier Spanish 
dependencies is by no means calculated to heighten our re- 
gard for tlie wisdom and mildness of the colonial policy of 
Sj^ain, or to give a particularly favourable impression of the 
political and social condition of the Philippine Islands. A 
state, whose power at the commencement of the present 
century was still beapiing in all its lustre, who has lost the 
fairest and most fertile lands on the face of the earth, which 
it had possessed for above three hundred years, without the 
slightest attempt to defend them, whose Government, through 
its inflexible adherence to obsolete forms and ordinances, 
after the dizzy pre-eminence of ruling the world has dwin- 
dled into a power of the thu^d class, — leaves nothing to hope 
that any part of its organization should have remained intact, 
that the canker in its political and social proclivities, which 
so suddenly and so disastrously brought about the downfal 

Anglo-Saxon and Spanish Colonization contrasted. 283 

of one of tliG mightiest and most extended empires in tlie 
world, should not likewise have made its appearance in the 
Philippines. However, it is precisely these considerations 
which make the contrast between the colonies founded by 
the Anglo-Saxon race in remote regions of the globe, and 
those of the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and so forth, so 
valuable and instructive, although a rigid analysis of the 
causes which have conduced to the present condition of the 
majority of the countries conquered and ruled by races of 
Latin origin, must necessarily impress the unprejudiced 
inquirer in a sense little flattering to these latter, namely, 
that the history of every quarter of the globe would have 
assumed an entirely different aspect had these countries 
been first discovered and colonized by the Anglo-Saxon race, 
with its watchwords of freedom and religious toleration, in- 
stead of the S|)aniard or Portuguese, with tyranny and 
fanaticism inscribed on its banners. 

The Archipelago of the Philippines comprises those numer- 
ous islands and islets between the parallels of 5° and 2P N., 
and which are scattered between the North Pacific Ocean on 
the east and the Chinese Sea on the west. The entire group, 
which, according to the Spanish account, consists of not fewer 
than 408 islands, extends over 1 6° of latitude by 9° of longi- 
tude, covering a superficial area of 91,000 square miles, or 
' about the dimensions of England, Ireland, and Wales, exclusive 
of Scotland. Only two islands however of the whole cluster are 

284 Voyage of the Novara. 

of considerable dimensions, viz. Luzon, or Manila, which is 
about the same size as Galicia, Moravia, and Silesia taken 
together, and Mindanao, which, in superficial area, is about 
equal to Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola. 

As in size, so in fertility, natural advantages, and com- 
merce, Luzon is the most important island in the Archipelago, 
as it is likewise one of the most delightful spots in the 
tropics. The climate is adapted to the cultivation of all 
the plants and various forms of vegetation alike of the torrid 
and the temperate zones. On the coast the thermometer never 
falls below 71°. 6 Fahr., nor rises above 95° Fahr. In the 
highland valley of Banjanao, 6000 feet above the level of the 
sea, albeit not above 36 miles distant from Manila, the thermo- 
meter frequently descends as low as 44° . 6 Fahr. The highest 
register of the thermometer is during the rainy months,* from 
May to September ; but we were assured over and over again 
that in Manila the heat is very equably distributed over the 
entire year, and never attains such a high degree as many 
summer days in Madrid. The most valuable and most ex- 
tensively used plants of the tropical and sub-tropical zones, 
such as sugar, coffee, cocoa, cotton, bananas, maize, tobacco, 
and rice, flourish here. The forests abound in all the most 
valuable descriptions of cabinet-wood, but the narrow-minded 
illiberality that has always characterized the colonial policy 

* In Manila the minimum annual rain-fall is 84 inches, the maximum 102 

Discovery of the Philqqyines by Magelhaens. 285 

of Spain, tlie numberless restrictions to which her commerce 
is subjected, do not admit of that magnificent development 
of whicli tliis insular cluster, so abounding in natural wealth, 
would be susceptible under a more frec-soulcd rule. Tlie 
Spaniards have conquered and have subjugated the islands, 
fanatical monks have what they call Christianized the people, 
but, during the three hundred years that the Castilian has 
held the supremacy here, little if anything has been done 
for the prosperity and development of the country, or the 
intellectual and moral advancement of the people. 

The Philippine Islands were discovered by Magelhaens 
and Pigafetta on the 17th March, 1521, nearly twenty- nine 
years after the discovery of America by Columbus, and two 
years after the conquest of Mexico by Fernando Cortez. In 
consonance with the religious customs of that age, the group 
was named by Magelhaens " The Ai'chipelago of St. Lazarus," 
because the day on which it was discovered corresponded 
with the fete-day of that saint in the calendar. But the dis- 
covery did not imply the conquest of the Archipelago. Four 
expeditions were dispatched at various intervals, without 
their succeeding in subduing the natives. The solitary re- 
sult obtained thence was, that the commander of the fourth 
expedition, that of 1542, Don Ruy Lopez de Villalobos by 
name, changed the Scriptural name of the Archipelago for 
that by which it is at present known, in honour of the prince 
of Asturias (then 15 years old), afterwards Philip 11. 

286 Voyage of the Novara. 

It was not till a fifth expedition had started in 1565, 
forty-one years after the first discovery of the Archipelago 
by Magelhaens, that the conquest was finally completed. 
The leader of this was Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, a man no- 
ways inferior to a Cortez or a Pizarro in venturesomeness 
of spirit, inflexible perseverance, and brilliant courage, and 
in humanity far exceeding either. His squadron consisted 
of five ships, and his entire force, including soldiers and 
mariners, was but 400 men. 

On 21st November, 1564, Legaspi sailed from Port Na- 
tividad in Spain, and on 16th February, 1565, hove in sight 
of the Philippines. The hardy navigator was accompanied 
by a number of Augustinian monks, who in tlie subsequent 
subjugation of the islands proved far more serviceable than 
his soldiers. The superior of these monks. Fray Andres de 
Urdaneta, a very remarkable man, had commanded a ship 
in the first expedition, and had afterwards been admitted 
into the order of St. Augustine. 

Four years after their arrival at the Philippines, and after 
they had subdued the native inhabitants of the fertile islands 
of Cebu and Panay, Legaspi first discovered Luzon, and there 
in the year 1571 founded the city of Manila. Since this 
first conquest the Spaniards have by no means been permit- 
ted to retain undisturbed possession of this smiling cluster 
of islands. Not alone the Portuguese and the Dutch bestir- 
red themselves at various intervals to drive the Spaniards 
out of the Archipelago, but the English likewise, in 1762, 

Subjugation of the Archipelago. 287 

towards the close of the Seven Years' War, invaded these 

The area conquered, however, did not extend fiui^her in- 
land than to a distance of ten miles from the walls of the city, 
and after an occupation of ten months, Manila was restored to 
the Crown of Spain by the Peace of -Paris, 1763. Since that 
memorable period, the Philippine group has remained unin- 
terruptedly under the dominion of the Spaniards, and has up 
to the present day been a faithful dependent of the Royal 
House of Castile. In fact, w4th the exception of Cuba and 
Porto Rico, the Philippine and Marianne Archipelagoes are 
the sole colonies that Spain still retains of her once so enor- 
mous possessions in the distant portions of the globe, although 
in Manila even in our own day, as will be more fully detailed 
presently, despite her honourable distinction of "Za Biempre 
real ciuclad^^ (The Ever Loyal city), there is no lack of dis- 
content, and the generally prevailing "loyal tranquillity" 
is, none the less, boding many serious perils for the Spanish 

The most striking peculiarity of the natural configuration 

* The expedition sailed from Madras with about 2300 men ; the squadron con- 
sisted of 13 ships of war and transports. The Enghsh landed without any opposi- 
tion, laid siege to Manila, stormed and captured the city proper within ten days 
after their arrival. The Citadel capitulated; the Governor, an Archbishop, binding 
himself to pay a contribution of 4,000,000 dollars (£833,000), in order to save the city 
from being sacked. This expedition was always looked on by the Spaniards of the 
Philippines as a very rash adventure, which by no means tended to diminish the 
national antipathy to tlie English race, although after such frcebooting expeditions as 
have within these last two years been witnessed on the part of civilized states in law- 
abiding Europe, this invasion by an anny of declared enemies must be viewed in an 
eutirelv chllerent lijiht. 

288 Voijage of the No vara. 

of Luzon* is its strongly-marked separation into two peninsu- 
las, a northern, which comprises the larger portion, and a 
southern, smaller island ; the former named Luzon by the 
Spanish, the latter Camarinas. The length of the entire 
island, including its numerous curves, is about 550 miles, and 
its greatest width about 135 miles, but in many places it 
is little more than thirty miles in breadth. The chain of the 
Caraballos mountains traverse Luzon from north to south, and 
sends off spurs in various directions, which impart an exceed- 
ing hilly aspect to the entire island. 

The Spaniards divide Luzon into three main divisions ; 
Costa, Contra-Costa, and Centre, corresponding pretty nearly 
with the western side, the eastern side, and the interior of 
the island, and formerly indicating in what order these dif- 
ferent sections of the country had been subjected to the Span- 
ish dominion. The latest distribution is into 35 provinces 
and 12 districts. 

Manila, the capital of Luzon, as also of the whole Archipel- 
ago, and the oldest European settlement in this region of the 
globe, lies at the mouth of a small but rather rapid river, the 
Pasig, which after a course of about 30 miles, draws off to 
the sea the waters of the great Bay-Lake {Lagima de Baif). In 

* Spanish writers, treating of the Philippines, derive this name from " Losong," 
which in the native language means the wooden mortar in which the rice, which 
forms the chief subsistence of the inhabitants, is shelled and pounded. The first 
strangers who came to this island, and found in every hut one of these very peculiar 
clumsy-looking implements, spoke of the newly discovered island as " Isle de los 
Losenes " (island of wooden mortars), whence in process of time it became trans- 
formed into Luzon. 

Expedition to Manila. 289 

consequence of a not very conveniently situated mole, the 
Pasig is forming a bar close to its own embouchure, which 
makes it somewhat dangerous for boats to attempt an entrance 
in bad weather. Ships, however, can anchor about \\ miles 
below the fortified walls of the city, which, though impregna- 
ble to the attack of a native force, would probably be found 
powerless to repel a European force attacking from sea- 

The members of the Scientific Commission started from 
Cavite, where the frigate lay at anchor, in the small steamer 
which plies daily to the capital, which, when beheld from a 
distance, with its gloomy, lofty, defiant fortifications, and its 
dense clusters of monastic buildings and church towers, gives 
the impression rather of some great Catholic Mission than a 
place of commerce. In the roads there were not above 16 
ships lying at anchor, whereas we counted 165 in Singapore, 
a disproportion which, considering the favourable site of 
Manila and its wealth in all manner of valuable produce, can 
only be accounted for by the pressure of political and admin- 
istrative regulations, which weigh like a mountain upon trade 
and commerce. 

On pulling up the river from its mouth, where it is about 
300 feet wide, we find ourselves in the vicinity of the light- 
house, in front of a dense mass of the inevitable filthy bamboo 
huts, which being inhabited by the very poorest section of the 
population, increase the dismal, gloomy impression left by the 
first view of the city. We land in the neighbourhood of the 


290 Voyage of the Novara. 

harbour-master's office, and have to pick our steps through a 
dirty quarter of the town in order to reach the focus of pub- 
lic activity. 

The river Pasig divides Manila Proper from its sister city 
of Binondo. Two handsome bridges, one an old-fashioned 
stone one, the other a modern suspension bridge of imposing 
dimensions, form the communication between the two cities. 
Manila, situate on the southern or left bank, and enclosed on 
all sides with ditches and fortifications, has all the peculiar 
features of a Spanish town of the ancient type. It consists of 
eight straight, narrow streets, all running in one direction. 
Within these are most of the public buildings ; the Governor- 
general's Palace and that of the Archbishop, the Municipality, 
the Supreme Courts, the Cathedral, the Arsenal, the Barracks. 
Profound silence reigns in the grass-grown streets, between 
the gloomy masses of stone, of which at least one-third are 
Church property. There is no evidence anywhere of joyous 
life or social progress, and the variegated, charming flower- 
garden, lately laid out in the square in front of the Cathedral, 
stands out like a solitary gay picture, amid austere, sombre, 
historical paintings of vanished might and faded splendour. 
Within the walls of this melancholy old city only Spaniards 
and their descendants may dwell, all other races being ex- 
cluded from this privilege. The number of inhabitants with- 
in the fortifications does not probably exceed 10,000 souls. 

On the other hand, Binondo, on the northern or right bank 
of the river, is the true business city and head-quai'ters of 

Description of Binovido. 291 

trade. Here Europeans, Chinese, Malays, and tlicir endless 
intermixtures of blood, amounting in all to more than 140,000 
souls, reside in tlie most perfect harmony with each other ; 
here are all the warehouses, shops, and manufactories ; here 
prevails from morning- till night a perpetual whirl of busy, 
cheerful crowds circulating through the streets, of which that 
called the Escolta is the most frequented, as it is the hand- 
somest and most attractive. The houses, on account of the 
frequency of earthquakes, are usually one storey high, enclos- 
ing large courts {patios), and very frequently with a sort of 
terrace on the roof. The interiors of the houses have an un- 
usually spacious appearance, owing to their almost universally 
having but little furniture, in many cases simply a number of 
chairs ranged along the walls. But the most singular aspect 
of these houses is to be found in the windows, the panes of 
most of them being made, not of glass, but of the shell of a 
species of oyster (P lacuna Placenta) , ground dowTi to the re- 
quisite thinness ! The subdued light which is thus obtained is 
exceedingly grateful, and these mussel shells have been found 
to be cheaper and more lasting than panes of glass, which, in 
a country so frequently visited by earthquakes and hurricanes, 
could only be replaced when injured at an immense expense. 
The streets are rather narrow, so much so that linen awnings 
are stretched across the streets from one row of shops to that 
opposite, thus secm'ing to the foot-passenger the inestimable 
boon of being able during the hottest hours of the day to 
traverse almost every street in Binoudo under shudo. 

u 2 

292 Voyage of the Novara. 

That which the strang-er understands by tlie emphatic word 
'' comfort " is only to be fomid In the houses of European re- 
sidents, and is not obtainable by money. The two hotels 
lately started levy, unchallenged, Californian prices for even 
the most moderate requirements, and so far as cleanliness 
and orderliness are concerned, lag far behind the commonest 
country inn in North America or the British colonies.* 

Despite the various races that meet the stranger's gaze, 
Manila has, beyond any other colony in the East, the appear- 
ance of a European town. One remarks here, that the colon- 
ists are more completely amalgamated with the natives, and 
that with the religion these latter have also adopted a consider- 
able proportion of the customs of Europeans. 

Among the populace of Manila belonging to the coloured 
races, that most prevalent in the capital is the Tagal, or 
Tagalag, on whose territory the Spaniards founded their first 
settlement. The obscurity that envelopes their origin has 
never been disjDelled, although some of the older religious 
writers thought they found on Borneo and other islands of 
the Sunda Archipelago some traces of their stock. They 
were confirmed in this impression by the fact, that in the 

* One of these hotels, the Hotel Fran9ais, was, at the time of our visit, kept by a 
Frenchman named Dubosse, a man of a most adventurous disposition, who after- 
wards accompanied the French army to China as a mess-man, and was one of the 
victims seized by Sang-ko-lin-sin's soldiers, near Pekin, in September, 1860, who met 
with such a horrible fate. The other inn, the Hotel Fernando, kept by a North Ame- 
rican, is yet more filthy and noisy than the first-named, since, being situated on the 
harbour, it serves for a rendezvous for the various ships' captains. In neither of 
these is the charge less than 4 to 5 Spanish doUaa-s a day, or about £1 sterling. 

Population of Manila. 293 

most cultivated dialects and idioms of the Tagal is to be 
found an unusually great number of Malay and Javanese words. 
The majority of the plants cultivated here, such as rice, 
sugar-cane, yam, indigo, cocoa-palm, as also all domestic ani- 
mals, many of the metals, and even the digits used in enu- 
meration, are, although greatly corrupted, directly traceable to 
the corresponding words or names in Malay. Moreover, there 
is a tradition very prevalent throughout Luzon, that the 
Spaniards, at their first arrival in this Archipelago, found 
certain Bornese officials here, who were levying taxes and 
tithes for the Rajahs resident in that island. 

Next in number to the Tagals rank the Chinese with 
their descendants, and to these succeed the Spaniards, with 
their offspring born in the country, who amount together to 
barely 5000, or about a 28th of the whole population of the 
capital ; of Spaniards of pm-e descent, there are not above 300 
in Manila.* 

Besides the Tagal there is in this Archipelago yet another 
race, the Negritos, who only inhabit the mountain districts of 
the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, Panay, Negros, and Mindanao, 
and are estimated at about 25,000 souls. These Negritos del 
Monte, or Negrillos, also called Acta, Aigta, Ite, Inapta, and 
Igorote, are small in physical conformation as compared 
with their African congeners. The characteristic featiu-es of 

* The Stranger's Guide to the Philippines [Giiia de Fornsteros) for the j'ear 1S59 
^\es the names of 61 commercial houses established by Spaniards in Manila. 
Besides these, there are in the capital of the Philippines, seven English, three Nortli 
American, two French, one German, and two Swiss trading firms. 

294 Voyage of the Novara. 

the negro are less strong-Iy marked, the colour of their skin and 
their complexion are both less black. For this reason old 
Spanish authors speak of them as '' menos negro y menos feo^^ 
(less negro-like and less hideous). Owing to their small stature, 
which does not average above 4 feet 8 inches English, they 
have received the appellation of Negritos (diminutive Ne- 
groes). By Spanish writers upon the Philippines they have 
been described as a still existent branch of the lowest type of 
humanity, without fixed dwellings, without regular employ- 
ment, eking out a bare subsistence on roots and wild fruits, 
and such animals as they could bring down with the bow 
and arrow, their only weapon. Through the kind offices 
of Mr. Grahame, wef had an opportunity of gratifying our 
curiosity to see an individual of this singular race of 
Negritos. This was a girl of about 12 or 14 years of age, 
of dwarf-like figure, with woolly hair, broad nostrils, but 
without the dark sldn and wide everted lips which charac- 
terize the negro type. This pleasing-looking, symmetrically 
formed girl had been brought up in the house of a Spaniard, 
apparently with the pious object of rescuing her soul from 
heathenism. The poor little Negrilla hardly understood her 
own mother tongue, besides a very little Tagal, so that we 
had considerable difficulty in understanding each other. 
The received opinion that the Negrillos and the Igorotes are 
of a distinct race, but having some affinity with the Paj^uans 
of New Guinea, seems to us for many reasons very problema- 
tical. We are as yet far too little acquainted with the races 

Language of Manila. 295 

inhabiting the most inaccessible parts of the island, to be 
able to pronounce a correct opinion upon such a point. 
The probabilities are not less that the Negritos and Igorotcs 
stand in the same relation to the dwellers on the coast as the 
Bushmen to the Hottentots, the Weddahs to the Cingalese, 
or the savages of Sambalong to the natives of the rest of the 

The Spanish language is only available in Manila and the 
vicinity ; — a few miles in the interior, even in places which 
hold almost daily communication with Manila, Tagal is much 
more commonly used. At present Tagal is written and 
printed exclusively in the Roman character. While in 
Manila, we never once saw a book or MS. in which the 
ancient character had been used. Even the oldest printed 
matter, such as, for instance, a Tagal grammar, published in 
Manila in 1610, contains only a few samples of the native 
alphabet, while as to its original arrangement, as also the 
form of the numerals, the utmost uncertainty prevails. The 
entire alphabet, which, including the three vowels, consists of 
but 17 letters, comprises the following characters : 

•^/^ =3 a yf^ = e and i ^ = ° *n*l "• 






>9 CO 







da a. ra 


figa ha 

5n. £) 




pa a. /a 

ta va ya 

296 Voyage of the Novara. 

A dot above the character changes the vowel sound a of the original consonants 

into e and i. 



de a. re 







jie n.fe 














di a. r{ 















pi a. Ji 

A dot below the character changes the vowel sound a of the original consonant 

into o and ic. 



do a. ro 







jfo a./o 













drt, a. rit 










2??< a. /u 

From the foregoing characters it would appear that a and 
0, as also e and i^ da and r^, ji?(« and fa^ had each but one and 
the same character.* — Besides the Tagal, five other difierent 
idioms are used by the civilized races of Luzon, namely, 
Bisaya, Pangasinana (the same as Ilocano), Tbanac (same as 
Cagayana), Bicol, and Pampanya. 

The Tagals are a small race, of a clear yellow complexion, 
and, notwithstanding their broad flat noses and thick lips, 
are by no means of unpleasing appearance. The hair of the 
head is rigid, bristly, and black; the beard very sparse. 

* We borrow this alphabet from the valuable work of Baron von Hiigel, entitled 
the Pacific Ocean and the Spanish Colonies of the Indian Archipelago (Vienna, 
printed at the Imperial Press, 1860), and believe the reader will the more gratefully 
welcome it that only a small number of copies of Baron von Hiigel's interesting 
journal were printed in manuscript for private circulation. 

The Tagals. 297 

They all wear European clothes more or less, although the 
fashion in which they wear them is quite peculiar and 
ludicrously odd. Not merely do the lower orders and 
servants wear the shirt ironed perfectly smooth and un- 
wrinkled, instead of a coat, above their continuations, 
but the Tagal dandy prides himself on his well-lacquered 
boots, his white stockings, his new Paris silk hat worn 
with a jaunty cock to one side, and above all his care- 
fidly plaited resplendent white shirt, as he struts through 
the streets of Manila, cigaret in his mouth, and swinging an 
elegant little cane ! The women wear, like the Javanese 
women, the '■^ Sarong," a parti-coloured striped cotton dress, 
rolled round the loins, and a close-fitting very short jacket, 
so short indeed that between it and the gown a space about 
an inch wide intervenes through which the naked body is 
visible, while the fine transparent gauze-like stuff of which 
the jacket is made is much better calculated to show off than 
to conceal their attractions. This universal fashion of dress 
is the more surprising, as the various orders of monks exer- 
cise in all other respects an almost despotic control over the 
natives, and as it is much more attributable to their influence 
than to that of the secular authorities that the speech, manners, 
and customs of old Castile have taken firm and extensive 
root in the Philippines. It seems, however, unjust to compare 
this gi'oup of islands, as has been done by medem writers, on 
account of the all-pervad'ng influence of the Spanish element, 
with a province of Spain, in contradistinction to the colonics 

298 Voyage of the Novara. 

of other nations, where the Europeans have always been re- 
garded by the natives as the lords of a conquered country. 
The English in India, Ceylon, and New Zealand, and the 
Dutch in Java, all appear to have a much firmer and more 
secure footing than the Spaniards, despite their having 
mingled with the people. How little can be effected by 
forced amalgamation of speech and manners, is best illus- 
trated by the late separation of Central and Southern America 
from the Spanish rule, "although in most of these countries 
the majority of the people speak only Spanish, and are go- 
verned entirely in accordance with Spanish customs. Much 
better founded seems to us the observation that it was less 
the sword than the cross of Spain which brought the Philip- 
pines under the tlnrone of Castile, and that the natives have 
become Spanish Christians, without being Spanish subjects. 
The entire Archipelago is nothing but one rich church do- 
main, a safe retreat for the legion of Spanish monks, who 
are able to lord it here with unrestrained power. There is 
a Governor-general of the Philippines only so long as it 
pleases the Augustinian, Dominican, and Franciscan friars ;- 
and if ever an insurrection breaks out in tlie Archipelago, 
designed to shake off the Spanish yoke, there will be more 
•than one monk to head the movement. 

In a country where the cloister and its denizens interfere 
so arbitrarily in, all the concerns of life, and impart to the 
capital itself, as indeed to the entire Archipelago, a character 
entirely peculiar to itself, religious establishments and their 

Influence of the Monies. 299 

zealous occupants call for special consideration, and the 
reader need assuredly feol no surprise that we should begin 
the narrative of our visit to the capital of the Phillj^plnes by 
a description of its monasteries. In Manila these unfortun- 
ately are not, as they were in the middle ages, the nurseries 
of culture and civilization, of science and art, but rather give 
the impression of being simply huge establishments for the 
maintenance of zealous souls, weary of life, who wish to 
close their days of labour in tranquil contemplation, exempt 
from all anxiety. 

The four orders of monks to whose hands are confided the 
entire spmtual and very much of the secular well-being of 
the inhabitants of the Philippines, are the Augustines {^Agus- 
tinos Cahados — sandalled friars), the Franciscans, the Do- 
minicans, and the barefoot Augustinian mendicants [Agustinos 
descalzados or Recoletos). 

The monastery of the Bare-Foot Friars, lying close to the 
wall of the fortifications, consists of a number of spacious 
buildings, some of which date from the 17th century. Every- 
thing here tells of former power and splendour. From the 
billiard-room and parlom* on the first storey, the eye is 
charmed by a marvellous landscape commanding the Bay 
of ]\lanlla and the mountains that surround it. How delight- 
ful must it be in the evening twilight to pace these airy 
chambers in tlie society of congenial souls, and, while the 
brow is fanned by the cool sea-breeze, to give free scope to the 
reins of fancy, as it swept far away over the Bay of Manila ! 

300 Voyage of the Novara. 

For what privations must not such a source of pure exquisite 
enjoyment indemnify the ascetic brethren of the cloister! 
That spiritual meditation and converse however do not form 
the sole topics discussed in these departments, was abund- 
antly evidenced by the hints let fall by several of the monks 
who conducted us tlu-ough the various corridors and apart- 
ments, and who were constantly indulging in visions of 
Carlist supremacy and a return of the halcyon days of mon- 
asticism. On our remarking that so far as worldly consider- 
ation was concerned, the cloister enjoyed far more cordial 
support in Manila than either in Spain or Cuba, one of the 
Augustinians who was accompanying us, a tall commanding 
figure, attired in the plain garb of the order, replied: '' The 
Government knows that it has need of us, that it could not 
get on a day without us, therefore it leaves us in peace, and 
places no impediments in our path as in Spain."* And 
he was right. Whensoever the monks lift the finger, Spain 
has ceased to rule in the Philippines. The spiritual reins 
have ever bridled the secular authority, and such a state of 
things is the severest impediment to the development of the 
country and its intellectual growth. 

* This opinion of our Augustinian guide is not shared out there. An Austrian 
traveller, as widely renowned as highly cultivated, Baron Von Hiigel, relates, in his 
Diary already alluded to, the following singular revelations by a friar in Manila : 
" The Philippine Islands belong to the Augustine monks ; in Manila, Don Pasquale 
(the then Governor) or another may ruffle it and talk large, — in the interior we 
are the true masters. Tell me where you want to go and everything shall be laid 

open for you! Police in the interior? It is laughable to hear 

of such an idea ! As if such were possible ! and I should be glad to make the ac- 

The Monastic Orders. 301 

Of the various monastic orders resident in Manila the 
Augustinians are by far the best educated. They have 
made the various dialects of the native races their study 
far more deeply than the other orders. Tlie '' Flora de las 
FilipinaSj^ the only botanical work which has ever been pub- 
lished in the Spanish language, treating of this interesting 
Archipelago, was compiled by an Augustinian monk, Fray 
Manuel Blanco.* 

The number of monks resident in the monastery of Ma- 
nila when we were there was 48, but there was room enough 
for three times as many. Altogether there were of the Au- 
gustinian order 58 monasteries and parishes in the island of 
Luzon, extending from one end of the island to the other. 
In the entire Archipelago there are, according to public 
documents, 145 Augustinian monks, whose authority extends 
over 14 provinces and 153 villages, numbering 1,615,051 

quaintance of that official who would venture to ask even the simple question of 
who any man is, who is under the protection of our order ! . . . Should you 
like to ascend the Majay-jav, the highest hill in the interior ? An Augustinian 
fricir shall accompany you thither. Should you care to make an excursion to the 
Lagoons and thence proceed to the Pacific Ocean ? An Augustinian friar shall be 
your guide. Have you a hankering to visit the forests of Ilocos, northward from 
Manila, or to sail down the great river Lanatin ? An Augustinian shall arrange all 
that for you. In one word, say what you wish to do ! " 

* Fray Manuel Blanco, whose portrait, the size of hfe, but by no means artistically 
executed, adorns one of the corridors, was born 24th November, 1778, at Navianos, 
in the province of Zamora in Spain, and died in the convent of Manila 1st April, 

t Of these there were in 1857, 373,569 Hable to taxation. Within the same year 
there were 85,029 persons baptized, 16,768 married, and 49,999 buried with the rites 
of the Chmch. 

302 Voyage of the Novara, 

The monastery of the Dominicans is kept clean and com- 
fortable, and its wide spacious apartments leave a less vivid 
impression of decay and human indifference than the majority 
of the monastic edifices. Here also the lofty, light chambers 
in the upper storeys command a magnificent prospect. The 
Prior, Padre Vellinchon, received the Austrian travellers with 
much cordiality, and conducted them in person round all 
the apartments of the very extensive building. He spoke 
Latin pretty fluently, and without the peculiar Spanish ac- 
cent, besides possessing a slight acquaintance with French ; 
and was somewhat better informed upon European matters 
than his spiritual confreres. The library of the order is not 
kept in the convent, but in one of the buildings of the Uni- 
versity of St. Thomas also used by the Dominicans, but it is 
quite unimportant, whether as regards the number of works 
it contains or their scientific value. 

The sjjiritual jurisdiction of the Dominicans extends over 
eight provinces of the Archipelago, including 76 villages, 
with in all 427,593 souls, whose eternal interests are watched 
over by 76 brethren of the order.* 

A Dominican friar, Joaquin Fonseca, is president of the 
permanent commission of Censorship of Books, consisting in 
all of nine members, five of whom are nominated by Govern- 
ment and fom- by the Archbishop of Manila. t We had the 

* In 1857 there were baptized in these 76 villages 21,604 children, 4512 couples 
were united in wedlock, and 12,002 were buried. 

t In the entire Archipelago there is but one newspaper, " El Boletin Oficial," 

The Monastic Orders. 303 

pleasure of being made acquainted with Fray Joaquin Fonse- 
ca, who also holds the appointment of Professor of Theology 
in the University of St. Thomas, and were presented by him 
with a copy of an imperfect epic poem composed in Spanish, 
which had for subject the history of the island of Luzon and 
its inhabitants.* Of this interesting fragment we shall pub- 
lish a translation in another place. 

Just as we were leaving the Dominican monastery, its 
worthy Prior begged our acceptance, by way of souvenir of 
om' visit, of a copy of Dante's Divina Commedia in the 
original text, and a dictionary of the Ybanac, one of the 
idioms most extensively used throughout the Archipelago. 

The monastery of the Franciscans presents no other 
feature of interest, than in so far as it is an emblem of the 
melancholy spiritual decay in which the members of this 
order at present find themselves in Manila. The dirt and 
untidiness which were not merely apparent in the various 
apartments, but which were even but too obvious in the 
external appearance of the brothers of the order, make a 
most disagreeable impression ; for poverty and necessity, 
these two cardinal principles of the mendicant orders, are by 
no means incompatible with cleanliness and neatness. 

The Franciscans possess 16 missions in 14 of the provinces, 

published under the auspices of Government, and which treats much more of religious 
than of political topics. There are but two printing and publishing houses in Ma- 
nila, one of which is in the hands of the Dominicans, and prints almost exclusively 
Prayer-books and religious works. 

• This historical poem is entitled " Luzonia, o sea Los Genios del Pasiy." 

304 Voyage of the Novara. 

comprising 159 villages and 749,804 inhabitants.* The 
spiritual instruction of these is intrusted to 184 brethren 
of the order, 74 priests, and 43 Clerigos Interims (occasional 

The monastery of the Becoletos, or Reformed Augustini- 
ans, offers a not less impressive prospect than that of the 
Franciscans. Here, too, tlie occupants permit to appear a 
careless indifference utterly destructive of the value of their 
ghostly ministration. As we entered, the brethren of the 
order had finished their mid- day repast. Some of the monks 
were still sitting in a dirty, gloomy verandah round a 
table on which was spread a table-cloth stained with food 
and drink, while in front of each stood a half-empty wine- 
glass. A lay brother announced us, upon which one of the 
monks rose to bid us welcome. From his rather jovial ap- 
pearance, and the suspicious colour of his nose, we presumed 
he was the cellarer, and were not a little surprised when, in 
the course of conversation, he announced that it was the Prior 
himself who was speaking with us. 

We had the utmost difficulty in making the brethren, 
whose information was of a most limited extent, com2)rehend 
from what country we came. The cii'cumstance that the 
original German name Oesterreich is pronounced Austria in 
Spanish, puzzled still more hopelessly the comprehension of 

* Of this number of souls there were in 1857, 188,509 amenable to taxation, while 
during the year there occurred 31,285 births, 21,029 deaths, and 5/13 marriages. 

Extreme Ignorance of the Manila 3Ion/cs. 305 

the monks, whose geographical knowledge did not seem to 
extend much beyond the sphere of tlieir vision. At fu-st 
they confounded Austria with Australia, and fancied we 
must have come direct from the fifth quarter of the globe, 
but when the Novara voyagers, proud of their Fatherland, 
refused to permit this opinion to pass current, and gave a 
more clear explanation, one of the younger monks thought 
he had at last found out our habitat, and evidently priding 
himself on having solved the riddle, gave his less ingenious 
brethren to understand that we came, not fi'om Australia, but 
from Asturias, and were consequently fellow-countrymen ! 
The limited intelligence of the Franciscan mistook Austria for 
Asturias, and made of the Austrian Empire a Spanish pro- 
vince ! Lest the hypothesis should suggest itself to the reader, 
that this confusion of foreign empires with domestic pro- 
vinces might possibly have originated in om* not being ac- 
quainted with the language of the country, it is necessary 
that we should inform him that one member of the Expedi- 
tion was thoroughly versed in Spanish, so as to be able to 
maintain fluent conversation, and that he was perfectly 
comprehended upon all other topics. Just as little must it 
be supposed that the above anecdote is but an ill-natured 
imputation, or the expression of a long-vanished national 
jealousy, or anything else than a proof of the present state 
of education among the present occupants of the monasteries 
of Manila. 


3o6 Voyage of the Novara. 

The Recoletos watch over the spiritual weal of 567,416* 
children belonging to parishes in the various islands of the 
Archipelago, and number 127 brethren. 

In each monastery there is what is called a Procuracion, 
where the various printed books published by the order 
(almost exclusively dictionaries and grammars of the native 
languages and dialects) are sold for the behoof of the funds 
of the monastery. The members of our Expedition exerted 
themselves to form a very complete collection of all such 
publications; and while thus engaged they also succeeded 
in getting several MS. treatises on language. f Works and 
memoirs on the history of the island and the state of its 
inhabitants are scarcely met with in the wretchedly deficient 
libraries of the monasteries, which consist of not more than 
500 or 600 volumes, mostly works of theology and philosophy. 
Whatever of valuable literary material may once have belonged 
to these institutions has aj)parently been removed to Spain, 
whose libraries have also gradually absorbed the literary 
treasures of the monasteries of Central and Southern America. 

Besides the monasteries, Government Square (Plaza de 
Gobierno), in the inner portion of the city, possesses some 

* In 1857, the order baptized 23,227, joined in marriage 4830 couples, and buried 

t The printed works obtained in the various monasteries of Manila consist of 
dictionaries and small grammars of the Togala, Bisaya, Ilocana, Tbanac, Bicol, and 
Pampangu dialects. The MSS. embrace vocabularies of the Igorotes and Ilongotes 
languages of Luzon, as also the idiom used by the natives of the Marianne Archi- 
pelago, togethei' with a short treatise on the Marianne group written in Spanish by 
a missionary. All these works will be thoroughly and exhaustively treated of in the 
ethnological portion, where also the manuscripts will be published. 

Interview with the Captain-general. 307 

little interest for strangers. It has the shape of a large 
oblong, surrounded on each of its four sides by the palace. of 
the Governor-general, that of the archbishop, the cathedi-al, 
and the law offices, with a well-kept garden-plot in the centre, 
in which is a handsome statue of Charles IV., the whole 
strongly recalling the principal square in the Havanna. The 
cathedi'al is equally as remarkable for the clumsiness of its 
exterior as for the profusion of perishable gold and silver 
within. The first edifice was erected by Legaspi, the con- 
queror of Luzon, in 1571, and was composed of bamboo cane 
thatched with j^alm-leaves. The present temple was built 
in IGort during the papacy of Innocent X., after several 
previous buildings had been destroyed, some by fire, others 
by earthquake. The palace of tlie Captain-general is an 
extensive but very simple building, with long wide conidors 
internally, but which can make no pretensions to archi- 
tectural magnificence externally. In one of its saloons our 
Commodore and his companions were received by the 
Captain-general of the Piiilippines, Don Fernando Nar- 
zagaray, who had held this elevated post since 1857. 
Formerly Governor of the island of Porto Rico, in the West 
Indies, Don Fernando was, in consequence of his openly 
avowed Carlist proclivities, sent into honourable exile to the 
Philippines, and by a lucky chance is at present once more 
invested Tsdth the dignity of one of the highest officials of 
Queen Isabel II. of Spain. This gentleman received the 
voyagers of the Novara with the proverbial lofty courtesy of 

X 2 

3o8 Voyage of the Novara. 

the Spaniards, }^et not without suffering to ap^^ear in his ad- 
dress a certain embarrassment and hesitation, which however 
may have been due to his not being sufficiently acquainted with 
any other tongue than the Spanish, to enable him to use it 
in giving fluent expression to his thoughts. The conversation 
turned chiefly upon the scene of our latest visit, Java. Not- 
withstanding the not very formidable distance, and the con- 
stant communication existing between the two islands, the 
Captain-general seemed to have but a very vague concep- 
tion of the political and social condition of Java, and ft-amed 
his questions as though they related to some remote island, 
in some entii'ely different section of the globe, rather than an 
island in all but immediate vicinity. As we prepared to 
return to our vehicles, Don Fernando made use of the usual 
unmeaning compliment listed* sale que mi casa es a la dis- 
posicion de listed .'"' (You know you may consider my house 
as entu'ely at your disposal) :\ it would rather have astonish- 
ed him though, had his visitors taken him at his word ! 

* Usted — contraction for " Vnesira Merced " (your Grace). 

f The fair speeches and amiable phrases of the Spaniards lose all their value 
when one finds upon nearer acquaintance with this courteous nation, that the heart 
and the feelings take no part therein. There is nothing which a Spaniard will 
not offer to a stranger — but it is always on the clear understanding that the latter 
wiU with equal politeness refuse the proffer. We on one occasion, however, saw a 
Yankee take these professions at their apparent value, and by so doing put his 
Spanish host to no small confusion. The Spaniard wore a very costly diamond 
breast-pin, for which the American could not find words sufficient to express his 
admiration. To his exclamations of delight, the Spaniard kept repeating his 
nauseous " d la disposicion de Usted,'' till at last the American fairly took the pin out 
of the Spaniard's scarf and transferred it to liis own. The latter felt so ashamed 


Apathy of the Authorities. 309 

Passports, which are absolutely necessary in Manila to 
make tlie very shortest excursion into the interior, are given 
with the utmost alacrity to strangers, without any one thence- 
forward paying the slightest attention to enabling any expe- 
dition to carry out its objects. This cold, utterly in- 
different treatment was doubly felt by travellers fresh from 
Batavia, where they had been overwhelmed with every sort 
of attention. 

In the office of the Captain-general we saw several large 
sheets of printed matter in columns, suspended on the walls, 
which we presumed were the annual statistics of the com- 
merce of the Archipelago, and accordingly requested one of 
the officials to provide us with one. It was only when 
unfolding a little later the documents which had been so 
readily given to us that we discovered our error, and became 
aware that these tables [printed with such care and elegance 
did not in any way refer to what we had supposed, but were 
the statistics of the various monasteries, and their inhabitant 
brethren throughout the Philippines. We had far greater 
trouble and difficulty ere we could get at the particulars of 
the natural productions and state of trade of Manila. 

When the visitor passes tlu-ough the St. Domingo gate to 
the subm'b of Binondo, on the N.E. side of the inner city, 
we traverse what is called the Isthmus, a narrow strip of 

and dumbfounded that he could not utter a word. The followang day the American, 
who had only taken it by way of joke, re1:urned the costly bauble to the agonized 
Spaniard, but took occasion in so doing to remark that he now knew what was 
meant by Spanish courtesy. 

3IO Voyage of the Novara. 

meadow-land, surrounded by water on both sides, on wliicli 
lias been erected within these few years a simple monument 
in honour of Magelhaens, the discoverer of the Philippines, 
who, wounded by a native with a poisoned arrow, breathed 
his last, 15th April, 1521, on the small island of Mactan, 
lying opposite Cebu. A Doric column of black marble, 76 
feet high, with inscriptions engraven on the four sides of the 
pedestal, lifts its head here since 1854,* and is altogether a 
more appropriate monument than that which the Spaniards 
erected at Havanna to the greatest navigator of any age, 
Christopher Columbus, to whom they owe all their after 
power and greatness, on the spot where his ashes reposed for 
many a long year in the cathedral before they were con- 
veyed back to Spain. A poor insignificant votive tablet, 
built into a recess near the altar, is all that intimates that 
there once reposed there for a season the mortal remains of 
the man who, to use the words of a German poet, " bestowed 
on the world another world."f 

On this isthmus are situated the most delightful pleasure 
grounds in Manila; the esplanade, with its simple, shady 
walks, and benches on which to repose, and further on, 
nearer the sea on the left bank of the river, the '' Calzada" 
dam (causeway). Hither every evening comes the gay 

* On the island of Mactan (10° 20' N., 124° 10' E.) there was also erected on the 
promontory of Sugano a monument to the memory of Magelhaens, and the happy 
idea was entertained of making it also into a hght-house, to warn ships of the 
danger in approaching the immense numbers of reefs that are found here. 

■j- V. Heinrich Heine's " Romanzero." 

The " Cahada"" or Public Drive. 311 

world of Manila, in long rows of carriages, to bo fanned hj 
the delicious cool sea-breeze. Arrived at the farther ex- 
tremity of the promenade, the coachman, resplendent in 
gorgeous livery and large shining top-boots, for he does not 
drive from the box but rides postilion, is usually ordered to 
stop, and the gentlemen leave the carriage in order to chat 
with the ladies in the surrounding vehicles, just as we accost 
our fair friends in the theatre, and pay our visits in the 
boxes. For in Manila there are neither theatres nor con- 
cert-rooms, and the public promenade is therefore the only 
rendezvous of the ''beau monde." 

Unfortunately we reached Manila in the height of the 
rainy season, when even the attractiveness of nature can only 
be guessed at by occasional glimpses, and the delightful out- 
door life which enlivens the streets and the front porch of 
the private residences of the inhabitants, is utterly arrested. 
Here, as in Batavia, the tropical rains fall with a violence of 
which a native of the northern climates, who has never lived 
in the tropics, and knows only the rainfall of his own 
country, can hardly form any conception. In July, 1857, it 
rained here for fourteen days uninterruptedly, so that the 
Pasig overflowed its banks, and people were ferried about 
the streets of Manila, as in the city of Lagoons, by means of 
small boats, called here hancas. This inundation was con- 
verted into a merry-making, and \4sits were paid on all sides 
in elegant little boats. 

The one sole amusement with which even the rainy season 

3 1 2. Voyage of the Novara. 

cannot interfere, is cock-fiorhtinor. So soon as the bad 
weather has fairly set in, universal recourse is had to this, 
the most popular of amusements, whose cruel, murderous 
issue is strangely in contrast with the mild, soft, timid cha- 
racter of the natives. These " Gallos^'' as they are called, are 
a monopoly of Government, that is to say, they can only be 
held with their permission, and upon payment of a fee for 
such license. The revenue which Government derives from 
this anything but civilized amusement is very considerable,* 
and the fee paid by the owners of the cocks and the spec- 
tators is at any rate the least objectionable part of the spec- 
tacle, for far larger sums are lost in the betting. What 
cards and hazard are for hlasee Europe, cock-fighting is for 
the simple native of Manila. Such is their passionate excite- 
ment, that several days elapse before their ordinary apathy 
subsides into its state of chronic contentment. It is singular 
that, with the exception of the Spaniards and the mixed race 
founded by them in various distant parts of the world, there 
is not now one single civilized nation that can find any 
pleasure in such brutal amusements as cock-fights and bull- 
fights. -~ ?^^^A'^^^. i^^M ;f(A-'^>^UUv- Ai/^^ ' V 

The scene of action is a small building, built of bamboo, 
and thatched with palm-leaves, in the interior of which the 
benches for the spectators rise behind each other in form of 
an amphitheatre, while the arena, or pit, is filled with the 
owners of cocks and betting-men, until the signal for the 

• It was estimated, we were told, at from $35,000 to |40,000 annually. 

CocJi -fighting in the Philippines. 31 3 

commencement of the combat is given. Each owner caresses 
or incites once more his champion, or to prove his courage 
flings him against one of the other cocks. At last the spec- 
ta'tors have decided to back one or the other of the cocks, red 
or white, the flat comb or the round comb ; the bets are '' on," 
and the '' spur," a sharp-pointed weapon above two inches 
in length, and provided with a sheath, is firmly attached to 
the right foot. Then the two cocks are simultaneously 
swung against each other, and a few feathers are plucked 
from their necks to excite their fury. The bell in the hand 
of the director gives the signal for the commencement of the 
^^main." The spectators retire from the "pit," the sheaths 
are taken off the trenchant spurs, and the encounter com- 
mences. Most marvellous is the eagerness for the fray, the 
dogged valour, which these two knightly antagonists display 
to the very last gasp ; how even wounded, bleeding, and 
sorely fatigued, they will not give up the contest ! Occa- 
sionally it happens that neither of the combatants is hailed 
the victor. The extraordinary keen, sharp ''spur" some- 
times wounds both warriors with terrible severity, till with 
severed limbs, and bleeding from every pore, both lie dead 
on the field of battle.* 

• Cock-fighting has been so long disused in England, that to most persons it only 
lingers as a grim tradition, mainly authenticated by Hogarth's well-known painting. 
The degrading associations which a cock-fight generated are sufficiently well illus- 
trated by the prince of pictorial satirists. The "betting-ring" still brings together 
in England the same intermingling of grades of society, and consequent utter disrup- 
tion of all social respect, but with all its faults it never has, nor can have, the same 
brutalizing effects of cock-fighting, which are instanced by the following anecdote, 

3 1 4 Voyage of the Novara. 

Very comical is the method hit upon in those places of 
amusements to supply the places of the return tickets in use 
amongst ourselves, and at the same time render it impos- 
sible for any different person to make use of them. When 
a native wishes to leave the apartment with the intention of 
returning he has his naked fore arm, near the wrist, stamped 
as he goes out with a black die, which secures his re-admis- 
sion, and at the same time obviates all anxiety as to his 
losing his return ticket! On his return this mark is easily 
wiped out. 

During our stay occurred the ^^ Fiestas Reales^'' or royal 
fetes, which were given by the Colonial Grovernment in hon- 
our of the birth of an heir to the Spanish throne, Don Alfonso, 
Prince of the Asturias. The little heir-apparent had, in fact, 
seen the light in the month of November preceding, at 
Madrid, but when the news reached the Philippines it was 
Lent ; respect for the tenets of the Catholic Church deferred 
the festivities, and afterwards the various fire-works, tri- 

extracted from the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1789, and which may even now 
be found to repay perusal : — " Died at Tottenham, John Ardesoif, Esq., a young man 
of large fortune, who if he had his foibles, had also his merits (!) that far out- 
weighed them. Mr. Ardesoif was very fond of cock-fighting, and had a favourite 
cock, upon which he won many very profitable matches. The last bet he laid upon this 
cock, he lost ; which so enraged him that he had the bird tied to a spit, and roasted 
alive before a large fire. The screams of the miserable animal were so affecting that 
some gentlemen who were present attempted to interfere, at which Mr. Ardesoif was so 
enraged that he seized a poker, and with the most furious vehemence declared that 
he would kill the first man that interfered, but in the midst of his asseveration he fell 
dead upon the spot! Such we are assured were the circumstances attending the 
death of this great pillar of humanity !" 

Irregularity of Postal Communication. 315 

umphal arches, illuminations, &c., took so long a preparation 
that the month of June and the rainy season were again at 
hand before the fete could be held, which owing to the latter 
circumstance fell through, and excited hardly any interest. 
That intelligence should be so many months in arriving at 
the Philippines is due less to their great distance, than to the 
little care taken by Government to promote the public 
interests. Until 1857, all letters to Europe were for the 
most paii; dispatched by sailing-vessels, so that letters re- 
mained four or five months on the way, and owing to the 
uncertainties of the length of passage made by the various 
vessels, it was constantly happening that the last letters sent 
came to hand before those dispatched several weeks earlier. 
This irregularity and uncertainty weighed so heavily upon 
commerce, that since March, 1858, there has been estab- 
lished regular communication by steam between Manila 
and Europe, the epistolary matter from Europe, for the resi- 
dents throughout the Archipelago, being conveyed by a 
Spanish steamer from Hong-kong, which is distant only 600 
miles, while all letters for Europe are conveyed to the latter 
port in time for the mails of the 1st and 15th of each month, 
whence they are forwarded together with the English corre- 
spondence via Singapore and Suez. 

On the other hand there is up to this moment no regular 
communication with any of the adjacent islands in the Archi- 
pelago, even the Government only availing itself of such 
sailing-vessels as private adventurers may from time to time 

316 Voyage of the Novara. 

cliarter. Wlien any cliange of officials takes place, tlie new 
appointment must often remain vacant for months till the oc- 
cupant reach his post ; indeed, during our stay in Manila we 
witnessed a case in which the consort of the Governor of the 
Marianne Archipelago had been vainly waiting for months for 
an opportunity to return to her husband.* Some foreign 
merchants settled at Manila had made an offer to the 
Government, in consideration of a fixed subsidy, to establish 
regular communication between the various islands of the 
Archipelago, and to keep it on foot by means of five steam 
vessels. But the Colonial Government did not see its way to 
giving the company a larger subsidy than 43,000 Spanish 
piasters (£6763 at par), and thus the whole plan once more 
fell through, the carrying out of which would so greatly tend 
to the development of these islands. 

Notwithstanding the fertility of the islands in all manner of 
natural wealth, there are at present but three products of the 
soil which are exported in anything like large quantities to 
the European and North American markets, and which thus 
give this group any importance in the eyes of the commercial 
world, viz. tobacco, Abdca, or Manila hemp, and sugar. 
The amount of all other articles exported, such as coffee, 
indigo, Sapan wood [C(Esalpinia sapan), straw-plait, f hides 

* This unhappy lady died a melancholy death, having, what rarely occurs among 
Spanish women, committed suicide at her hotel by swallowing Prussic acid. It was 
rumoured that an unhappy attachment led to this fatal resolve. 

t Of these straw-plait manufactories the cigar-holders are especially noticeable for 
their fine texture and elegance. These are usually sold at very high prices ; some of 

Manufacture of Cigarillos. 317 

and skins of animals, &c., is proportionately but small. We 
visited the great manufactories of Binondo, as also that of 
Arroceros, where cigarillos, or paper-covered cigarettes, are 
exclusively manufactured. The former gives employment to 
about 8000 work-people, mostly women. In the long work- 
shops, where it is common to see 800 females sitting at work 
on low wooden benches in front of a narrow table, there 
prevails a most disagreeable deafening hubbub. Some are 
busy moistening the leaves, and cutting off the requisite 
lengths, or are sorting the fragments and smaller pieces, of 
which inferior cigars will be made ; others hold in their 
right hand a flat smoothed stone, with which they keep con- 
tinually pounding each single leaf, in order to make these 
more susceptible of being rolled up. This drumming noise, 
and the cries of several hundreds of workwomen, who, on the 
appearance of foreign visitors, handle their implements of 
stone with yet more energy, apparently out of sheer wanton- 
ness, the strong odour of the tobacco, and the disagreeable 
exhalations from the bodies of so many human beings shut 
up together in one close apartment, in a tropical temperature, 
have such an unpleasant, uncomfortable effect that one hastens 
to exchange the damp sultry vapom-s of the workshops for the 
fresh air without. 

In the Cigarillo manufactory about 2000 workmen find em- 

the more elegant of these fetching from 40 to 50 dollars (£8 to £ 10). Straw mats and 
hats, not inferior in fineness of texture to those of Panama, are made here of palm 
fibre, and form a not unimportant article of exportation. 

3 i 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

ployment. Here also there is felt in the workshops tlie same 
clammy, sultry atmosphere. A workman can make about 150 
packages of 25 cigarettes, or 3750, per diem, for which he is paid 
four reals * (I5. 7d. English). Most extraordinary is the rapid- 
ity, bordering almost upon the magical, with which the cigar- 
illos are counted, divided into packages, bound up, and stamp- 
ed. The unpractised vision of the visitor is hardly able to 
follow the celerity of motion of the workman's hands and 

Besides the two factories already mentioned, there is yet a 
third cigarillo manufactory in Cavite, which emj^loys 4000, 
and a fourth in Malabon, employing 5000, workwomen. The 
quantities annually produced by these various manufactories 
amount to about 1,200,000,000 cigarillos. If we deduct the 
numerous holidays of the Church, on which no work is done, 
we shall find that about 5,000,000 must be made daily. 
Grovernment buys up each year from the planters the entire 
crop of tobacco at a fixed price, and exports it partly in leaf, 
but for the most part in cigars, the right to manufacture 
which no one possesses but the Grovernment. The monopoly 
of tobacco was, after great difficulties had been encountered, 
first introduced into the Pliilippines in 1787 by Don Jose 
Basco, the then Governor-general. 

The greater part of the cigars are shipped to the East In- 
dies, the islands of the Malay Archipelago, and North America, 
only a small quantity in proportion coming to Europe for sale. 

* 8 reals=l Spanish piastre^S^. 1|^/. at par; hence 1 recil=:4.71 870(/. EngUsh. 

Statistics of Government. — Monopoly of Tobacco. 3 1 9 

The principal tobacco-growing districts of the island of 
Luzon are Cagayan and Bisayx, in which on an average 
180,000 cwt. of tobacco are grown annually; of these about 
80,000 cwt. are sent annually in the leaf to Spain, while the 
surplus are worked up into cigars in Luzon itself, sold at auc- 
tion [al martillo) every month, and knocked down to the 
highest bidder. The average price is 8 to 10 dollars per 1000 
Costados. Tliere is but one species of tobacco grown in 
Manila, and the size of the leaf is the sole element that regu- 
lates the value. The Manila tobacco is a very strong narcotic ; 
there is, notwithstanding the prevailing opinion in Europe, 
no opium mingled with it ; one end being simply dipped in 
rice juice to glue it together. Indeed, the enormous cost of 
that liquid drug, which plays so important a part in the his- 
tory of the Chinese empire, would alone prevent its being 
used. As cigars are greatly in request by both sexes in 
Manila, and it is necessary first to provide for the supply of 
the country itself, it occasionally happens that the stocks are 
not sufficiently large at once to supply all demands for export- 
ation. Except during the public sales by auction, no one is 
permitted to buy of Government more than 1000 cigars at 
once, a regulation most vicious in principle and useless in 
practice, as persons who wish to possess larger quantities of 
cigars have simply to send round to any number of persons 
in the tobacco trade, in order to provide themselves with 
what they require. We ourselves experienced how any one, 
who was desii'ous of buying 45,000 cigars, sent 45 different 

32,0 Voyage of the No vara. 

individuals to the bonded magazine, from wliicli each brought 
1000 cigars without any further interference. 

Athough altogether more tobacco is raised on the island of 
Luzon than in Cuba, yet the exportation from the former is 
far less in quantity, for the reason already commented upon, 
that a large portion of the tobacco so grown is consumed in the 
country itself. Luzon provides to th, and Cuba tV th of the entire 
production of tobacco on the earth, which amounts to 4,000,000 
cwt.* There are indeed two countries which produce a far 

* Owing to the universal interest felt in tobacco, the use of which has spread 
over the globe, till it has become a necessary of life to the civilized man as well as 
the half-savage races of mankind, we subjoin by way of completing the information 
above attained, the following remarks upon the tobacco culture in other possessions 
of Spain, extracted from an unpublished journal, kept by a member of the Expedi- 
tion, during a visit previously paid to the West Indies. 

" The best sites for growing tobacco in Cuba lie to the westward of the capital in 
what is called the Vuelta abajo, between Rio Hondo and San Juan de Martinez, and 
is about ten English miles in circumference ; the tobacco growTi on the Vuelta arriba 
is usually of inferior quality. In 185fi there were in Cuba 10,000 plantations or 
Vegas, with a superficial area of 8000 Caballerias, (about 414 square miles, I 
Caballeria being equal to 160,371,041 English square yards, or 33,134 acres), culti- 
vated by from 14,000 to 16,000 negro slaves. The total value of the capital emploj^ed 
in this branch of culture (including manual labour, building utensils, draught animals, 
&c.) maybe estimated at 13,000,000 piasters (£2,730,000), and the average weight of 
tobacco produced at a million and a half arrobas, or 37,500,000 lbs. annually. Of 
this quantity 400,000 arrobas, or 10,000,000 lbs., are consumed in Cuba itself, while the 
rest is exported partly in the leaf, partly in the manufactured state. One Caballeria 
of ground can produce on the average about 360 arrobas, or 9000 lbs., of which however 
only ^th will be of superior quality. 

A " vega " usually consists of three Caballerias, which are in regular succession 
devoted to the tobacco cultivation, so that while two are devoted to maize and other 
vegetables for human subsistence, only the remaining third is under tobacco. The 
season for sowing is in October or November, and the crop is got in in January or 
February. On one Caballeria there are usually found under favourable circumstances 
000,000 plants or Matas. Hence it results, that as the tobacco culture of Cuba 

Statistics of Cigar Manufacture and Consumption. 321 

larger quantity of tobacco than either Luzon or Cu])a,* but 
in no other country does the tobacco leaf attain such 
superior quahty, owing to favourable climate and congenial 
soil, as in the Spanish possessions already named. 

Another chief product of the Philippmes, which first found its 
way into the markets of the world from these islands, is what 
is called Manila hemp. This, however, is not the common 
hemp plant {Cannabis sativa\ but is procured from the fibres of 

extends over 8000 Cahallerias, there are throughout the island 4,000,000,000 plants. 
Each plant has from 8 to 10 suitable leaves. They are collected together in bundles, 
called manojos (handfuls), of from 120 to 130 leaves each, and 80 manojos make one 
tercio, or 150 lbs. of tobacoo. One manojo weighs about 1:1 lbs,, ^^^^ when pre- 
pared makes into about 400 cigars. There are in Cuba altogether 600 cigar manu- 
factories, of which above 400 are in the capital alone. A workman can make about 
150 cigars a day; the rate of pay is about 10 Spanish piasters or duros for 1000. 
The manufacture of cigars gives employment to about 20,000 workmen, chiefly males. 
Under the designation of Tahagueros, they constitute almost an exclusive class, and 
owing to their improvidence are usually in wretched plight. In Cuba (as in Luzon) 
there is but one species of tobacco raised, but more attention seems to be paid to its 
cultivation in the former island. The leaves are sorted in Cuba according to colour 
and " vein " (vewas), and their quality fixed accordingly. In commerce there are 
three sorts, viz. — 

No. I. 42 to 45 Spanish piasters (£6 15s. to £7 5s.) per 1000. 
11.32 ,, ,, (£5) 

III. 28 ,, ,, (£4 106-.) 

The number of cigars annually exported from the Havanna averages from 
200,000,000 to 250,000,000, without including the ramos, or tobacco exported in ihe 
leaf. The cedar-tree {Cedrela odorata), of which the cigar-boxes are chiefly made, is 
occasionally prejudicial to the contents, in consequence of the slight dampness still 
remaining in the wood bringing out white spots of decay upon the tips of the 

* The United States of North America produce above 200,000 cwt., or more than 
one half the whole supply. The annual consumption of tobacco by the individual is 
in the United States 3| lbs., in England 1 lb. and \ oz., in France 1 lb. l^oz., and 
in Germany 2 lbs. 

VOL. II. y 

322 Voyage of the Novara, 

the '■^ Musa textiUs,^'' a species of banana, and is called by the 
Tagals abaca. The plant comes in great quantities from al- 
most every one of the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao, so 
that the area over which it extends stretches between the 
equator and 20° N. This seems, however, to be the most 
northerly limit of vegetation of the Musa textilis, and conse- 
quently it is out of question to attempt to introduce into Eu- 
rope the cultivation of this most useful plant, which, ere it can 
be profitably grown, requires a temperature of 77^ Fahr. The 
stem of this musacea grows in the Philippines to a height of 
from 9 to 12 feet, by about 6 inches in thickness, its leaves 
being of an exceedingly dark green colour, 8 feet in length by 
1 J feet in width. The fruit is smaller, and neither so yellow 
nor so palatable as that of the common banana. To procure 
the hemp, the trunk, so soon as the fleshy bulbous fruit makes 
its appearance, is stripped of its splendid leaves, which serve as 
fodder for the oxen, and is left about three days to ferment. 
It is then peeled off in pieces, which by the application of a 
corresponding pressm'e are drawn between two knives, not too 
sharp, in order to separate the hemp, which now begins to be 
visible, from the bast, which, owing to the fermentation, has 
become rather brittle. This process is continued until the 
hemp is sufficiently cleaned to admit of its being spread out 
and dried in the sun. A skilful workman may make extract 
from 8 to 10 feet of hemp a day. There are 450,000 cwt. 
of hemp produced annually, of the value of £520,000, the 
greater part of which is sent to the United States of North 

Comparative Strengths of Ahaca and European Hemp. 323 

America, while from 30,000 to 60,000 cwt. is manufactured 
into rigging for ships in the country itself, at the splendid fac- 
tory of Messrs. Russell and Sturgis, an American firm, by whom 
it is exported to Singapore, Australia, and China. This raw 
material, as well as the various products manufactured from it, 
has a magnificent future opening to it, and will ere long 
compete advantageously with English and Russian hemp in 
the European markets. The principal objection as yet made 
to the use of the Manila hemp for rigging, viz. its contract- 
ing in wet weather, can easily be obviated by more careful 
treatment of the fibres in the process of manufacture. On the 
other hand, in strength and elasticity the abaca sm-passes its 
rival, as has been proved by repeated experiments, especially 
over common European, and even Russian, hemp.* Messrs. 
Russell and Sturgis have, it is true, monopolized the hemp 
product of the entire Archipelago, but under their fostering 
care it must sensibly increase and become perceptibly im- 
proved. From the leaves of 3Iusa textilis^ like those of all 
other species of the banana tribe, very excellent paper can be 
made, and by the increasing cultivation of the musacew in the 

• The experiments made at Fort St. George near Madras in July, 1850, with Unes 
and rigging made of abaca and European hemp, with the view of testing their re- 
spective availabiUty, gave the following interesting results : a rope of Manila hemp, 

12 feet long, 3j inches in circumference, and weighing 2S|^ oz., required a strain of 
4460 lbs. to break it : on the other hand a rope of English hemp of similar dimensions, 
weighing 39 oz., broke with a strain of only 3885 lbs. A second smaller rope of Ma- 
nila hemp, 1 1 inches thick, and 9| oz. weight, also 12 feet in length, required 1490 lbs. 
to break it, while an exactly similar cord of English and Russian hemp, weighing 

13 oz. per fathom, broke with 1184 lbs., so that in the first instance the abaca line 
was 13 per cent., and in the second nearly 22 per cent, stronger than ropes of similar 
size of European hemp. 

Y 2 . 

324 Voyage of the Novara. 

tropics, two main objects could be attained, viz. providing 
a plentiful subsistence for the natives, and extending and 
cheapening the medium that mainly contributes to widen the 
circle of knowledge of mankind.* 

Next to Musa textilis^ the Ram^ shrub {Boelimeria tenacissima) 
especially deserves the attention of business men. The fibre of 
this member of the urticacece, which unites extraordinary tough- 
ness with much beauty and fineness, is stronger and more 
durable than that of Russian hemp, and with careful prepara- 
tion would make into finer thread than the very expensive 
material which is used in Europe at the present day for mak- 
ing the world-famous Brussels point-lace. The variety of pur- 
poses to which this useful plant may be applied has hitherto 
been less fully recognized than those of the Manila hemp. In 
Europe the Boelimeria tenacissima is but found in botanical 
gardens, or herbariums, and as yet not the slightest use is 
made of it for industrial purposes. And yet the introduction on 
a large scale of Manila hemp and Ram^ fibre into the Euro- 
pean markets in place of Russian hemp, would have more than 
merely a commercial and industrial importance ! f 

We may also notice in this connection another description 
of fabrics made from fibrous material, which, though but little 
known beyond the limits of the Archipelago, seems to us to 
deserve to be more extensively known, and, it would seem, may 

* Compare with Forbes Royle's valuable treatise upon Manila hemp, entitled 
"The Fibrous Plants of India fitted for cordage, clothing, and paper." London, 1855. 

•j- The best Manila hemp is worth fi-om 4h to 6 dollars per Spanish /;/('?</:= 140 lbs. 
Cordage made by steam power of the various dimensions, from half to one inch thick, 
sells at 25, and from one to five inches thick, at 10, piasters~per /j/c?</. 

Excursion to Laguna de Bay. 325 

be most profitably taken up. Tliesc are the delicate almost 
trans2)arent tissues prepared from the fibres of one of the 
Bromeliaccce (cmanassa satlva), wliicli are used by the natives 
for ornamental shirts, chemisettes^ and neck -laces, and are 
known in commerce by the names of Pi7ia or grass-cloths.* 
The threads of these textures are so thin, that they can only 
be woven in apartments where there is not the slightest 
breath of air. The natives contrive to weave them into the 
most beautiful designs, and were they submitted to some 
chemical process which should impart to the web a clearer 
coloui', less of a dirty yellow, the world of taste would be en- 
riched by the addition of one of the most exquisite materials 
that could be presented to adorn the graceful form of woman, 
and while seeming to conceal her charms, would but render 
them more conspicuously attractive. 

Although the rainy season, during which we visited Manila, 
was but little inviting for excursions, we yet could not resist 
the temptation to make an excursion to the celebrated Laguna 
de Bay, a short distance in the interior. Mr. J. Steffan, con- 
sul for Bremen, a Swiss by birth, and a partner in one of the 
most eminent mercantile houses in Manila (Jenny and Co.), who 
from the moment the Austrian expeditionaries set foot in the 
Philippines manifested to them the most delightful hospitality, 
was on this occasion also our companion and cicerone. Two 
other foreigners, an English artist and a merchant from Am- 

* The fabrics known by the name of Sinamay are on the other hand made of the 
fibres of the Musa textilis. They are of less gossamer tissue, but almost transparent, 
and far more durable than the fabrics made from the Pin a. 

^26 Voyage of the Novara. 

sterdam, joined our party. The first-named had lived for 
long on the island, and had already visited all its most access- 
ible spots, whence he had returned with some very accurate 
sketches ; the latter had been sent out by his firm to Manila, 
in 1857, when the price of sugar had fallen, for the purpose of 
purchasing, at the price to which he was limited, a large 
quantity of that important article of colonial produce. By 
the time, however, he had reached the capital of the Philip- 
pines, the value of the sugar had already, in consequence of a 
favourable crop, exceeded the limit assigned him, and has 
since then advanced 300 j^er cent. Still the Amsterdam agent 
held on, awaiting a fall, and meanwhile did his best to wile 
away his time of exile by feasting his eyes with all the va- 
rious beauties of the island. 

On a grey, dreary morning we found ourselves pulling up 
the Pasig in small covered boats, till we reached the Lagune, 
where a larger craft was awaiting us, to take the entire com- 
pany of pilgrims on board and transport them to the opposite 
shore of this inland lake, as far as Los Banos. In clear sunny 
weather a row in a hanca upon the river Pasig, the aorta of 
Manila, which forms the communication between the city and 
the Lagune, together with all the various settlements along 
the shores of that internal sea, must be exceedingly pleasant. 
The banks of the river, indeed, are flat and unsightly, but 
the vegetation rejoices in a marvellous profusion of the most 
beautiful forms and colours. The Bamhusacece are the chief 
ornament of the shores, on which there are but few palms to 

Different Descriptmis of River Boats on the Pasig. 327 

be seen, while the banana, the sugar-cane, or the rice-plant are 
only exceptionally met with at certain points. The delicate- 
leaved bamboo accordingly presents hereabouts an elegance 
and variety of form, which at first sight seems to mark out its 
individual representatives as belonging^ to so many different 
families of plants. Wlierever the subjacent rock is visible 
along the banks it presents beds of an ashen-grey pumice- 
stone, which constitutes the chief building material of Manila. 
On the shores of the river, near the city, are situate the 
various factories and iron-foundries, above which are the resi- 
dences of the wealthy Mestizoes and foreign settlers, as also 
the country-seat of the Governor-general, whence, still 
ascending the stream, are Tagal villages of wretched cane 
huts, grouped round stately churches and parsonages, which 
peep picturesquely through lovely groves of bamboo. 

There are three modes of boating on the Pasig and through 
the Lagune, namely, the lanca^ consisting of a large trunk 
of a tree hollowed out and covered with an awning of bam- 
boo ; the lorcha or falua (corruption of felucca), large, com- 
fortable, but exceedingly clumsy row-boats, which, particularly 
dming the rainy season when there is a heavy sea running, 
are those chiefly used in this navigation ; and finally, the 
casco, which is of equal breadth at either end, and has more 
the appearance of a raft. The last-named is principally 
made use of for the transport of heavy merchandise, and is 
in especial favour with the natives, for the reason that it is 
practicable to hoist sail upon it as well as to row. On the 

328 Voyage of the Novara. 

Lagune there is also found yet a fourth kind of boat, tlie 
Parahoj the principle of which, as well as the name, has 
obviously been borrowed from the Malay Prahu^ which it 
closely resembles in form and mode of steering. 

On the Pasig there is a constant and amazing tide of 
human activity. Nimiberless boats pass and repass, some 
bound for the city, to supply it with provisions and other 
necessary articles, even to drinking-water, which has to be 
shipped in casks at a considerable distance, others returning 
with all sorts of purchases made in Manila, for the supply of 
the various residents on the shores of the Lagune with the 
necessaries of life. On this voyage we got a sight of num- 
bers of grackles (^Pastor Boseti), the well-known grasshop- 
per-destroyer, which, about five years before, had been in- 
troduced from China at considerable expense, with the view 
of extirpating this formidable locust. But since these birds, 
to kill which is punishable by imprisonment, have become 
acclimatized, they seem to have lost all relish for grasshoppers, 
sitting quiet and unmoved on the trees and roofs of the 
houses, while swarms of locusts are disporting under their 
very eyes. Apparently the number of these destructive 
insects is less great in China than in Manila, where these 
voracious wanderers often appear in dense swarms, which, 
in the shape of blacli clouds, absolutely obscure the day- 
light ! Probably, too, their means of sustenance is much 
more limited in China than in the Philippines, where these 
birds, being in fact treated as tame animals, and fairly do- 


Rearing of Ducks for Trade at Patero. 329 

mesticatcd, find frequent opportunities of satisfying tlicir 
hunger otherwise. 

At the village of Patero (from Pato, duck), which is situ- 
ated five miles from the capital on the left bank, the inhabit- 
ants are mainly employed in breeding ducks. In front of 
each hut, and near the river, there is a large area fenced in, 
where these birds can bask in the sun or bathe at pleasure. 
The floor of the little poultry house is carefully cleaned 
every morning with river water, and the ground dug up and 
plentifully filled daily with shell-fish for the use of the ducks, 
which the natives bring in tlieii' small canoes fi^om the sea, 
where they thrive by millions in the mud. The sj^ectacle of 
the gently-sloping assembling-places of these cackling deni- 
zens of the watery element, and the clamours with which 
we were saluted, strongly recalled to us the penguins of the 
Island of St. Paul. In Patero millions of ducks are annually 
reared as articles of trade, as the Tagalese look upon the half- 
hatched eggs and the new-born chickens as special dainties. 

The natives whom we met on the way all wore large round 
hats, made of plaited straw or bamboo, white hose, and above 
these the invariable shiii;, a custom so singular, that it is but 
very gradually the eye of the foreigner becomes reconciled 
to it. The fm-ther we got from the capital the more the 
use of Spanish seemed to diminish, till at the Lagune the 
natives only speak Tagal and Bisay. 

Our original intention had been to row up in hancas as 
far as the entrance to the Lagune, where it had been ar- 

2;^o Voyage of the Novara. 

ranged that the hrcha, which had started from Manila a day 
or two before, was to await our arrivaL But when little more 
than half way beyond the village of Pasig we overtook the 
great clumsy concern, and it was forthwith resolved to re- 
move into it bag and baggage, not forgetting the "j^rovant," 
and endeavour to make ourselves as comfortable as we could 
for a few days and nights. 

As it was perfectly calm, and the lorclia had to be poled 
along, we were a considerable time before reaching the en- 
trance to the Lagune, where the industrious natives had 
erected a variety of nets and other fishing apparatus of very 
peculiar nature. The banks of the Lagune are for some dis- 
tance from the shore thickly studded with thousands of what 
are called cordis, or fish-runs, and a special pilot is required 
to enable the lorclia to thread this labyrinth of fishing ap- 
paratus of every conceivable form, so as to reach the open 
water. Singularly enough, it is for the most part the Ta- 
galese women who manipulate the fishing instruments, while 
the men, as we were told, sit in ijie house and embroider. 
Near the entrance is stationed a sort of guardship. A Ta- 
galese overseer overhauled our passports, turned them over 
in his hands two or three times with much official importance, 
and then returned them to us. The worthy officer of the law 
was obviously ignorant of the art of reading, but for that very 
reason he looked doubly massy, for fear of exposing his weak 
side to the Europeans. 

The Lagune de Bay is a fresh-water lake of such dimen- 

Proposed Improvement of Navigation hj the Lagune. 331 

sions, that even on a clear day it is impossible, from the 
entrance, to see the coast on the further side, much less, of 
course, in the wretched rainy weather which stuck by us 
throughout our trip. Nevertheless, it is far inferior in size 
to the great lakes of North America. Its greatest breadth is 
little more than 30 miles.* All around the fertile shores of 
this charming lake nestle little villages, and the daily inter- 
course with the capital is so extensive that a steam-boat 
company would pay well. TVliile on the one hand the 
Colonial Government objects to the expense of entering upon 
an undertaldng so important for developing the general trade, 
engineers, on the other hand, have for the last 14 years 
been busily engaged projecting the immense work of 
connecting the Lagune with the ocean by means of a canal, 
in such manner as would enable ships aj^proaching Luzon 
from the southwards to reach Manila easily, and with great 
saving in time, instead of having to sail all round the island. 
This short cut through the tongue of land would, it may 
well be supposed, be in other respects of incalculable bene- 
fit for the country, for the shipping and for trade generally, 
especially were the execution of this splendid project to be 
carried out hand in hand with a liberal policy, that should 
shake off that despotism which at present weighs like a 
mountain upon every sort of intellectual and political activity. 

* According to Buzeta the Lagoon is 36 Spanish leagues in circumference, by an 
average depth of 15 to 16 hrazos (fathoms). While thirteen rivers of various di- 
mensions flow into the lake, the Pasig alone issues from it, to carry off its waters 
to the sea. 

;^^2 Voyage of the Novara. 

Let Manila be declared a free port, let the ships of all mer- 
cantile nations visit unrestrictedly the various harbours of 
the Archipelago, and Spain will under such relaxations reap 
far more profit than from her present retrograde colonial 
policy, which can only result in permanent discontent and 
impoverishment. A thoroughly unj)rejudiced Spanish states- 
man might make most valuable observations by a brief visit 
to the neighbouring colony of Singapore, that marvellous 
British settlement, which, owing to a commercial policy 
conceived in the free, liberal spirit that characterizes the 19th 
century, has sprung up from a nest of pirates into the most 
flourishing and the wealthiest emporium in the entire Malay 
Archipelago. The situation of Manila, as also its numerous 
natural advantages and resources, would soon make it a rival 
to Singapore. But of what avail are the choicest treasures 
of nature, if the mind be wanting which can turn them to 
their proper use, and elicit their real value ? 

The continued bad weather compelled us to pass the night 
most uncomfortably on board the lorcha ; however, the morn- 
ing after our departure from Manila we arrived at the 
village of Los Baiios on the southern shore of the Lagune, 
where we were most courteously received by Padre Lorenzo, 
a Tagalese (only the monks being of Spanish blood, whereas 
among the secular clergy there are numbers of coloured per- 
sons). The parsonage, formerly an hospital, is an extensive 
edifice, with covered terraces, from whence the visitor enjoys 
the most splendid views of the neighbouring hills, as also 

Visit Los Bams. 333 

over the village. Here we were rejoined by those members 
of the Expedition who, there not being room for all on 
board the lorcha, had made out the voyage to Los Baiios in 
a small boat. The Government officer of the village of 
Pasig was so kind as to provide for our exploration of the 
lake a well-appointed, thoroughly armed and equipped war- 
galley ; by no means a superfluous precaution when making 
an excursion upon the lake, as it has not unfrequently hap- 
pened that unprotected strangers have returned to Manila 
robbed of everything. 

We had great difficulty in making our kind Father Lo- 
renzo, whose wanderings had been rather limited, comprehend 
from what country we came, and to what nation we belonged. 
The natives of Luzon for the most part believe that all man- 
kind consists of but two nations, Spaniards and English ; 
the former they regard as their own masters, while the po- 
litical and commercial power of the latter impress them with 
more terror than sympathy, and this feeling is still further 
deepened by that spii^itual teaching, which makes everything 
seem to their untutored minds of the most terrible criminality, 
which does not strictly accord with Roman Catholicism. 

Los Bauos (the baths), so named on account of the numer- 
ous hot springs, whose source is close at hand at the foot of 
the now extinct volcanic cone of Maquilui, thickly wooded 
to its very summit, was so far back as the end of the 16th 
centmy a place of resort for invalids, who hoped here to 
find a cm'e for their various maladies. In the interests of 

334 Voyage of the Nov ar a. 

suffering humanity, the Franciscans of those days, then in the 
height of their influence, built over the baths a sort of hut, 
and a hospital dedicated to " Nuestra Senora de las Aguas 
Santas de MayniV (our Lady of the Holy waters of Maynit, 
the latter name expressing hot in Tagal). Although at 
present in a very forlorn and dilapidated condition, there is 
still in existence, quite near to the edge of the Lake, an 
apartment enclosed within a wall, within which there boils 
up from a considerable depth a spring of hot water of a 
temperature of 186°. 8 Falir. ; which is occasionally used, 
both by natives and foreigners, as a vapour bath, although 
these Thermw are more used to scald poultry than for their 
original purpose of curing disease. The entire neighbour- 
hood is volcanic. Behind Maquilui, which is about 3400 
feet high, lies, surrounded by a deep lake, the active crater 
of the renowned volcano of Taal, while to one side of the 
first-named mountain rises in tlie blue distance, to a height of 
from 6000 to 7000 feet, the gigantic mass of the Majayjay* 
range, a volcanic system long since extinct. An oppressive 
sultriness in the atmosphere, such as we had never before 
experienced, and a drenching thunder-storm, put a complete 
stopper on our projected excursion to make a closer acquaint- 
ance with the hills. Somewhat of the terrific heat experi- 
enced here, may, with much justice, be attributed to the great 
number of almost boiling springs which issue from the foot 
of the Maquilui, so that even on entirely clear days, when 

* Pronounce Mahayhay. 

Excursion to '' the Enchanted LaheP 2)35 

the mountain-top is quite free of clouds, the country about 
Los Baiios seems enveloped in an atmosphere of mist. 

The main object and ever-memorable result of our excursion 
was the Lagima Encantada (or Enchanted Lake, — the 8ocol of 
the Tagalese), distant not much more than a mile from Los 
Banos. Volcanic agency and tropical beauty have combined 
to prepare here one of the most singular and mysterious 
phenomena that the eye of man may ever behold. Although 
this small lake is only separated by a low hill from the larger 
basin, yet the approach to it is extremely troublesome and 
arduous. It is necessary here and there to use one's hands, 
in order to creep through the brushwood along the steep wall 
of rock, till the shore of the lake is at last reached. Even 
the very ^' dug-outs," in which the lake is to be navigated, 
have to be transported over this lonely inhosj)itable hill. As 
the Lagune enjoys the unenviable reputation of being the 
haunt of numbers of ravenous crocodiles, which have on 
several occasions overturned the light canoes navigating it 
at the time, and without further ceremony devom^ed their 
crews, the natives had learned to take the precaution of 
binding two or three canoes close together with bamboos 
and cords, in order to diminish the risk of being overturned 
while boating on this dreary haunt of '' caymano." 

While the natives were getting ready this handsome 
specimen of a craft, we stood on the shore, every one 
absorbed in gazing at this singular natural pictm'e. Calm 
and mysterious-looking the lake lay before us, a circular 

336 Voyage of the Novara. 

basin, of a deep green from innumerable almost microscopic 
water plants, unfathomable, if we may trust common report, 
and enclosed by a crater-like wall of lava-blocks. All along 
the shore grew the tropical forest ; gigantic primeval trunks, 
wildly festooned with wondrously luxuriant creepers, raised 
their towering crests, their splendid coronets of leaves re- 
flected in the calm mirror below, and casting the lake in 
every corner into a dusky, shadowy obscurity of outline. 
From the topmost branches of the trees were suspended 
huge brown, indistinct-looking fruits. There was death- 
like silence all around. Only at fitful intervals might be 
distinguished the note of a bird, or the muttered growl of 
distant thunder. We now got into our canoes and rowed 
silently over the waters of the lake. As though to add to 
the interest of the adventure, it came on to rain pretty 
heavily. Some of the party followed the very practical 
custom of the natives, who forthwith divested themselves of 
their clothing, and left the rain to beat upon their naked 
bodies, while they put their dresses under the seats of the 
boat to prevent their being soaked. Fortunately the alli- 
gators at no time made their appearance in such numbers as 
the tales of the natives had led us to anticipate. We saw 
but one of these monsters, apparently about 15 feet long, 
who however sj^eedily dived out of our sight.* Our guides 

* The size attained by the alligator or ca3'man in the Laguna de Bay borders 
on the incredible. Baron Von Huge!, in his work already referred to, tells of a 
French settler in Jalla-Jalla (pronounce Halla-Halla), who assmed him that he had 

Alligator-Hunting at the Enchanted Lake. 337 

maintained it would be advisable to take a dog with us, whose 
howl would have aroused the alligators and brought them 
up to the surface in hope as of prey. Indeed people fre- 
quently sacrifice dogs in order to entice these rapacious 
monsters from their haunts for the purpose of hunting them. 

If however disappointed in this spectacle, we were recom- 
pensed by another not less peculiar. For hardly had a shot 
been fired at one of the water-fowls which were skimming to 
and fro over the lake, than at once tree and thicket seemed 
filled with life. Birds of all kinds, screaming and whirring, 
fluttered about or daslied wildly against each other on every 
side. Thousands that had been sitting on the beach con- 
cealed in the deep shade, wood-pigeons and legions of gigan- 
tic bats, which had been suddenly friglitened out of their 
listless repose, now flew about directly before the murderous 
fowling-pieces. The singular-looking fruits which seemed 
to be so strangely dependent from the trees, were transformed 
into Kalong bats [Pteropus edulis), and flew about in immense 
flocks that obscured the light of day, directly over our heads, 
hastily seeking a shelter in the forest, which should hide 
them from the gaze of the sportsmen. Probably we should 
have brought down some of these singular animals, had 
not our fowling-pieces, owing to the incessant pour of rain, 
got so thoroughly out of order that we had to content our- 

once killed an alligator, whose head alone weighed 250 lbs., while the body was 
10 feet in circumference ! It lay buried in the sluice at the mouth of a river, and 
it proved so difficult to get it brought to land and cut up, that only the head was 
severed by way of trophy, and brought home to his house. 


338 Voyage of the Novara. 

selves with getting a very few specimens for our zoological 

On returning to the parsonage from this interesting 
excursion, we found the Alcalde May or ^ who had come to Los 
Banos ^om the adjacent small town of Santa Cruz, to wel- 
come the foreigners, and be of service to them. The Alcalde 
Mayor ^ or Gohernador, is the highest official, the chief both of 
administration and justice in the province, a sort of prefect, 
under whom are the Gohernadorcillos^ or departmental ad- 
ministrators, beneath whom again the Cabezas,* or parish 
justices, form yet a lower grade. The chief duties of these 
native officials consist in seeing that the proper amount of 
tribute or' head-money is duly collected. This impost is di- 
vided into three parts : the duty for defraying the State ex- 
penses amounting to five reals, that for supporting the Church 
amounts to three reals, and that for the wants of the com- 
munity amounting to one real, so that the whole taxation 
levied upon each individual liable is about nine reals (4^. ^d. 
English). In addition to the natives, the Chinese resident in 
Manila and the half-breed Chinese are subject to a poll-tax, 
the pure Chinese being rated according to their social posi- 
tion and the nature of their calling. They pay on the aver- 
age about 17 dollars, or about 15 times as much as the native. 
The poll-tax of the Chinese Mestizo amounts to 18 reals, or 
about twice as much as that on the native. All males are 
liable to be rated for the poll-tax, as also all females when 

* Cabeza, the head, whence it is further applied to express " chief," or " chieftain." 

Mode of rating the Poll- Tax. 2,39 

married, or when tliey have attained the age of 25. Those ex- 
empted from the poll-tax are all Spaniards and their half-caste 
children, all foreign residents except the Chinese, as also all 
natives above 60, and a few native families, whose ancestors 
had performed certain services for the Spaniards at the 
period of the conquest ; and, lastly, all native authorities 
during their tenure of oflSce (usually six years).* 

The morning after our excursion to the Enchanted Lake, 
a hunt of water-fowl was organized among the swamps sur- 
rounding Calamba, wliich furnished us with plenty of sport, 
as well as important scientific results, in which it would 
have been yet more productive, had it not been suddenly 
brought to a close by the acute illness of one of tho 
canoe-men. As some cases of cholera had occurred during 
the few days immediately preceding, it seemed to be only a 
wise precaution to exercise some little prudence on the pre- 
sent occasion. Strange to say, however, the man attacked, 
despite his sickness, rowed resolutely till the party reached 
Los Banos, during all which period he showed the most lively 
interest in the hunt, constantly calling our attention to birds 
which his keen eye detected at a distance, or which were 
moving softly over the water without being observed. 

Meanwhile one of the zoologists was busy at the parsonage, 
making preparations of the most interesting specimens pro- 

* Another description of tax is the compulsory labour exacted from the natives, 
which is expended in the construction of roads and bridges, transmission of mail 
matter, transport of military baggage, luggage of travellers, &c. &c. 

Z 2 

340 Voyage of the Novara. 

cared. Padre Lorenzo could hardly believe his eyes when 
he beheld the naturalist engaged in such a bloody business, 
apparently on precisely the most agreeable spot of the whole 
terrace, and performing the various dissections requisite upon 
the dead bodies of some couple of dozen of birds. In what- 
ever direction one turned in the apartment, the eye en- 
countered nothing but birds of variegated plumage, gigantic 
Kalong bats, monkeys, or else barrels filled with spirits of 
wine, in which were preserved snakes, fish, and other small 
inhabitants of the deep. The poor padre, accustomed to 
peaceful meditation and full of simplicity, appeared quite 
convinced he must have sinned grievously that such a visita- 
tion should have overtaken him, as that this horde of 
foreigners should have disturbed the repose of his peaceful 
asylum with such appalling practices. The youths of the 
village, encouraged by the promise of remuneration, busied 
themselves with yet further increasing our zoological collec- 
tion, and made their appearance, breathless with running, 
each with some still more curious and important object to 
show to the strange gentleman, who found such interest in 
snakes and insects, that he even paid money down for them ! 
Padre Lorenzo, however, was ere long rid of his singular 
guests, with whom he could even not get upon an intel- 
ligible footing. On the same day on which the hunt among 
the swamps of Calamba took place in the morning, the Expe- 
ditionary party returned from Los Baiibs, and by way of re- 
compense to the obliging padre for the discomfort inflicted, 

Universal Custom of SmoJcing. — Joss- Sticks. 341 

they presented him with some provisions and some bottles 
of claret, which filled the worthy gentleman with delight, 
and seemed completely to reconcile him to the " Estranjeros." 
Some of the members of our Expedition also visited the two 
villages of Jalla-jalla and Binangonan, lying close to the 
shore of the lake, places of great interest in a geographical 
sense, while the remainder of the party retm-ned to Manila 
in the same way they had come. Unfortunately throughout 
the entire distance the rain fell worse than ever. It never 
ceased pouring in deluges, so that for hours together we 
could not get upon deck, but had to remain below in the 
small bleak, comfortless cabin. Here there was nothing for it 
but to wile away the time as best we might. We talked 
" de omnibus rebus ^ et quibusdani aliisj''' we laughed, we sang, 
and we — smoked, a habit, be it remarked incidentally, so 
constant and universal here, that the Pebete with its glowing 
top is constantly cii'culating from hand to hand. This is a 
sort of tinder in the shape of small thin rods, a cubit long, 
which is prepared in China from a mixture of fine dried saw- 
dust, fir, and clay, and forms a by no means insignificant 
article of commerce, the greater part coming from Macao.* 
A chest of eight cubic feet, filled with Pebete or ''joss-sticks," 
as the English call this tinder, the use of which pervades the 
entire Malay Archipelago as far as Madras, costs from IO5. 
to I65. M. sterling. 

* These joss-sticks, by the Chinese called "shi-shin-hiang," burn, when lighted, 
so slowly and regularly, that the Chinese often use them to mark the divisions of time. 

342- Voyage of the Novara. 

By 11 p. M. we liad got back to Manila. The weather had 
cleared up somewhat, the rain had ceased, and the city and 
environs were gay with the gleam of innumerable variegated 
lamps, intended to represent the illuminations expressive of 
the joy of the people at the birth of a prince of the Asturias. 
This did not however continue long ; the enthusiasm that 
was finding vent through the glitter of the lamps was drown- 
ed in another deluge of rain, and as the exhibition had now 
lasted for several nights in succession, people at last had got 
weary of the trouble of constantly relighting them ; the gaudy 
triumphal arches were decomposed into their constituent 
atoms — rough boards, wooden pegs, nails, and filthy little 

The continuance of the wet weather put more distant ex- 
cursions out of the question. We had to content ourselves 
with having seen all that was really worth seeing in the city 
and environs during our limited stay. 

Many additional visits were paid to the interior of the city, 
to the fort, to the monasteries, and the various public institu- 
tions. Of these latter, two call for a more particular notice : 
the " Bihlioteca Militar^'' and the immense hospital of San 
Juan de Dios, under the charge of the Charitable Friars. 

The attraction of the Military Library, which is situated in 
one portion of the cloister of the Jesuits which had been 
almost entirely destroyed* by a former earthquake, consisted 

• The church was utterly ruined, and a large portion of the buildings are similarly 

The Military Library at Manila. 343 

far less in its bibliographic treasures, than in a small collec- 
tion of objects illustrative of natural history, of which the 
first beginning had been made but a few months before our 
arrival. It deserves the more notice that it was not the 
project of a professed naturalist, but solely of an '' aficimado," 
or friend to scientific inquiry, Colonel Miguel Creus. Al- 
though very deficient, still the bare experiment has paved 
the way to a better and more complete collection, which at 
present comprises, besides about 100 species of birds and a 
few mammalia, a number of objects illustrative of ethnogra- 
phy, geological specimens, and the various manufactures and 
natural products of the Archipelago (among which are 37 
species of rice). Considering the natural resources of this 
Archipelago, (some of which, especially the Conchylia,* far 
surpass in richness of colom', beauty, and gracefulness of 
form anything that has yet been met with in any part of the 
globe,) the inauguration of this small collection may yet prove 
the foundation of one of the most magnificent and marvellous 
museums of natural history, provided the laudable intention 

in a most desolate, neglected condition. A hope was however expressed that in the 
following year, 1859, members of the Society of Jesus would come from Europe to 
settle in the PhiUppines, who would include among their other labours that of re- 
building their own cloister. 

* The graceful elegance of the Conchylia brought from Manila is so remarkable 
that an EngUsh ship captain, who, without a special knowledge of the matter, brought 
on speculation a freight of mussels from the Philippines to Europe, not only made 
by their sale an enormous profit, but even attained in consequence to a certain degree 
of celebrity in the scientific world ! 

344 Voyage of the Nov ar a. 

of the founder receive adequate support, and the work, com- 
menced as a labour of love, be continued and promoted with 
energy and perseverance.* 

The great Civil Hospital, to which Dr. Fullerton, a Scotch- 
man settled in Manila, was so kind as to accompany us, is a 
very extensive range of buildings, with large airy rooms, but 
so unclean and ill-kept, that it is no wonder if the report be 
true, that many natives in bad health prefer to run the chance 
of death without, to being brought to this infirmary. In- 
deed most of the rooms are empty and unoccupied, there being 
in the whole building but 30 confined to their beds, which in 
a city of not less than 130,000 souls, with but one hospital, is 
at all events a remarkable phenomenon. Every year on 
St. John's day the brethren of the order give a fete, when all 
the different rooms are scoured, swept, and garnished^ and 
the sick in the hospital are present at the festivities, and, un- 
restricted by considerations of diet, are regaled with food 
and wine to their heart's content. This is likewise the 
period at which the hospital is most extensively patronized, 
and not only by those actually sick, but far more by those 

* Unfortunately the students of Natural Science have met with but little encoui'- 
agement or support from Government, and many parts of the interior still remain a 
sealed book to them, or are only accessible under great difficulties. The deficiency 
of definite information respecting the island attracts foreign naturalists thither, and 
of late there have been exploring it, M. M. Feodor Jagor of Berlin, Dr. Karl Semper 
of Hamburg, and La Porte of Paris, all intent on matters connected with the natural 
history of this Archipelago, but the majority of such visitants come back discon- 
tented and thoroughly undeceived to land, where all activity of scientific inquiry is 
allowed reluctantly, and regarded by the Government and the priests with an envi- 
ous eye. 

Insufficiency of Hospital Accommodation. 345 

wlio qualify for a residence in the hospital by a too great 
devotion to the plentiful viands provided on St. John's day. 
When the English were in possession of Manila during the 
Seven Years' War, this range of buildings was used as a 
barrack, for which reason the chui^ch was considered as de- 
secrated for 90 years, and only in I80T consecrated once 
more as a temple of God. 

There is also in the Calle de Ilospicio a Military Hospital, 
somewhat better kept, and not like the former under the 
charge of a brotherhood, but of a medical staff. Unfortun- 
ately the arrangements here leave very much to be desired. 
The rooms, insufficiently ventilated, are in the immediate vicin- 
ity of the kitchen, the smoke and odours from which cannot 
but be very prejudicial to the patients. In the various wards 
there were about 150 to 200 sick, whose lot called for 
redoubled sympathy, considering the little attention paid 

Unfortunately no opportunity presented itself during our 
stay at Manila of witnessing any of those processions of the 
Church, which are necessarily so frequent in the course of the 
year. This was the more to be regretted, as we were told of 
many peculiarities of these costly processions. Here appar- 
ently, as in the earlier dependencies of Spain, in Central and 
Southern America, the Roman Catholic ritual has become 
mingled in the most extraordinary manner with ceremonies 
borrowed from paganism. The earliest Spanish missionaries 
were especially prone to believe that by retaining some of 

34^ Voyage of the Novara. 

the former ceremonies tliey would facilitate the work of con- 
version, and increase the nmnber of neophytes. They saw 
no scandal in the native, attired sometimes as a giant twelve 
feet high, sometimes as a Malay warrior, sometimes as an 
aboriginal savage, fantastically painted, and accoutred with 
bow and arrow, in a word, in all sorts of masquerading costume, 
frolicking in the very midst of the sacred procession, and 
performing all manner of buffoonery in front of the life-sized 
and gaily-adorned images of saints ; but appeared rather to 
contemplate with pleasure that these wild beings, who had 
resisted the Spaniards on their first arrival on the island, 
were now subjected to the Holy Church, and rejoiced in her 
service ! There are also numbers of natives dressed up as 
animals, and girls gaily decorated with flowers and in robes 
of spotless white, as also a fantastically-attired jester, who 
from time to time gives national dances and sings national 
songs, to the best of his ability, all in one long procession, ac- 
companied by monks singing chorals and carrying wax 
tapers, while a promiscuous crowd of the faithful bring up 
the rear. 

The sight of such processions have anything but an edify- 
ing influence upon a European, but on the mind of the 
masses they seem to make a deep impression, and for weeks 
after, when smoking a cigarette in the privacy of the family 
circle, they will talk of the splendour of such solemnities, and 
the motley episodes that accompanied it. If it were admis- 
sible to judge of the religious mind of a people by their out- 

The Vesper-Bell. — Life in Manila. 347 

ward observances, the Tagalese would be the most devout 
race in the world. Wherever the natives come in contact 
with the Church, they put on an extraordinary stern and 
reverential deportment, and even in the most trivial matters 
the great influence of the priesthood upon the masses becomes 
abundantly apparent. This is the most conspicuous every 
evening as the clock tolls for the Ave Maria. The tones work 
like enchantment upon the people at whatever distance they 
may be audible, and for a few moments a profound silence 
succeeds to the noise and bustle. The labourer and the 
promenader, the ladies and gentlemen of the upper ranks in 
their elegant carriages, as well as the poor Tagale returning 
homeward from his hard day's work, and driving his laden 
mule before him, are for the space of an instant awed by the 
solemn sounds. All vehicles stop suddenly short, the gentle- 
men and servants uncover their heads, the restless masses 
stand as though nailed to the ground, and then sink gradually 
on their knees in prayer, their heads bared and their cigars 
extinguished ; no one would venture to break in upon the 
universal stillness so long as the bell continues to toll. But 
as soon as it is silent, each jumps to his feet, and proceeds on 
again, believing he may now in safety give way to liis fro- 
licsomeness and pm^sue his pleasures. 

Life in Manila during the dry season was described to us 
as exceedingly agreeable and gay. Then almost every even- 
ing joyous groups thread the city singing and joking, 
while from every hut resounds some snatch of melody 

348 Voyage of the Novara. 

accompanied by the guitar. We had a slight foretaste of the 
joviality which must prevail in Manila during the delicious 
summer evenings from the joyous disposition manifested by 
the various Tagal families, even during the wet season, when 
the almost incessant rain, and the swampy state of the streets, 
compelled the natives to remain crowded in the narrow rooms 
of their poor little huts. In St. Miguel, a hamlet in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood of Manila, with a number of country- 
seats of wealthy foreigners and natives, we repeatedly heard 
the sweet plaintive notes of the native women singing Tagal 
ditties, which for pathos and thrilling tenderness surpassed 
all we had hitherto heard or read of the talents of the colour- 
ed races for song and melody. We shall be able in the 
Appendix to give the notes of a very characteristic melody, 
the words of which form a very favom-ite popular song 
(Condiman), which we ultimately succeeded in taking down 
through the kindness of Senor Balthasar Girandier of 

It was at San Miguel that we had not alone the most 
agreeable, but also the most melancholy, experience of our 
entire stay in the capital of the Philippines. On an island 
opposite the handsome, beautifully situate residence of our 
hospitable friend Mr. Steffan, the Bremen Consul, is the Poor- 
house, in which the insane as well as the sick are confined toge- 
ther, the whole being, like all the other humane institutions of 
Manila, under the superintendence of an ecclesiastic, m the 
present case a Mestizo. It appeared there was no proper or 

Ojypressively unjust Operation of the Laiv of Lunacy. 349 

regular medical attendance. Without assistance, or any one 
responsible for their proper care, these miserable beings, left in 
an indescribably desolate and neglected condition, cower down 
upon the bare stone floor in the damp, filthy rooms, staring 
vacantly before them, or slink about among the cool corri- 
dors, murmuring unintelligibly to themselves. The padre, 
habituated to such a state of matters, seems never to give it a 
moment's thought, but rather to make it his amusement to 
conduct strangers through the dismal, horrible wards, where at 
each step one encounters some fresh form of misery. We felt 
most pity at the sight of a female, whose features and whole 
appearance spoke of a happier lot in by-gone days. It seem- 
ed a mystery crying aloud for reparation, that this unhappy 
being, an orphan, worthy of all compassion, should for a 
slight attack of melancholy be liable to be sent to the asylum 
for the insane by her unscrupulous relations, that they might 
with the greater security possess themselves of her property. 
So deep and so permanent was the impression made by this 
melancholy spectacle, that even now, after the lapse of years 
of varied experience, since our visit to the lunatic asylum of 
Manila, the ill-fated being, with her wan yet striking fea- 
tures, her large, melancholy black eyes, and her wavy, 
shining black hair, her dress neglected and half torn into 
pieces, stands out life-like before us, as an embodiment of 

Early on the day on which we bade adieu to Manila we 
found an opportunity of seeing a live boa- constrictor, said 

35 o Voyage of the Novara. 

to be 48 feet long and seven inches thick, at the house of 
a secular ecclesiastic in the suburb of Santa Cruz. This 
gigantic reptile had been confined for 32 years in a large 
wooden cage, where it had enjoyed such a carefully tended 
existence that it had fairly outlived the good padre, and 
was now for sale by his heirs. The indolent animal, con- 
stantly lying almost motionless among the sand, is fed only 
once in every four weeks, when it is usually presented with 
a young pig. 

On the 24th of June the members of our Expedition went 
on board the small steamer plying to Cavite, where lay the 
frigate, on board which all necessary preparations had been 
made. Now, on the eve of departure, almost every one of 
our number mourned the disappointment of cherished ex- 
pectations. The inclemency of the weather had not alone 
precluded our undertaking the more distant excursions 
which would have repaid our researches in the natural 
history of the islands, but had even interposed serious ob- 
stacles to our wanderings in the immediate neighbourhood ; 
moreover, up to the very moment of our departure the Govern- 
ment manifested the utmost indifference to the objects of the 
Expedition, while even the educated portion of the Spanish 
residents never took the slightest notice. The more reason 
therefore is it, under such circumstances, that we should not 
be unmindful of the few, such as Messrs. Steffan, Schmidt, 
Wegener, Wood, Fullerton, Fonseca, Girandier, and Creus, 
who, with warm interest in our plans, furnished us with 


Departure from Manila. — Off the Chinese Coast. 351 

new" material relating to the Philippines and their inhabit- 
ants, and left us with the agreeable prospect of a permanent 
exchange of literary and scientific labours. 

At one A. M. of the 25th June we weighed anchor in the 
harbour of Cavite, on our voyage to the Em^iire of China. 
The land breeze, which sets in regularly every night, carried 
us clear out of the Bay of Manila, but in the open sea out- 
side we found, contrary to expectation, instead of the S.W. 
monsoon, light variable winds and calms, which materially 
interfered with our progress. At last, when we were about 
mid-way across the China Sea, we fell in with the long- 
looked for S.W. wind, which speedily wafted us to the next 
station we were to visit, the British colony of Hong-kong, 
or Victoria. With favourable winds the voyage from Ma- 
nila to Hong-kong, a distance of about 700 nautical miles, 
is four or five days' sail ; owing to the constant contrary 
winds we were double that time. 

Already, before we came in sight of land, a Chinese fishing 
vessel had put a pilot on board in the shape of a long-tailed 
son of the Celestial Emj)ire, who jabbered English in a fashion 
to set the hair on end, and was lost in wonder at our flag, 
which he had never before seen. We afterwards found that 
the dialect used by our pilot was what is called Canton- 
English, such as is spoken by all Chinese who have dealings 
with the British, and consisting exclusively of a most ludi- 
crous distortion of the commonest English phrases. 

About noon on the 4th July we sighted the Chinese coast ; 

352, Voyage of the Novara. 

and before sundown we had passed tlie Lemmas islands, and 
found ourselves in the island-studded, many-bayed archipel- 
ago at the mouth of the Canton River, where the English 
have selected Hong-kong, with its admirable harbour, for the 
site of their colony. Thousands of fishing-boats covered the 
surface of the ocean all around us, always sailing parallel 
with each other, in fact, quite a fleet of fishermen, who, on a 
favourable opportunity, add a little buccaneering, and have 
numerous secure retreats among the thousands of coves all 
around, so that even up to the present day they can carry 
on almost unpunished their piratical attempts upon their own 
fellow-countrymen, as well as upon foreigners ignorant of 
their danger. It was the first time we had seen in any 
numbers the Chinese Junk, with its strange-looking rigging. 
On most of these small but clumsy vessels there was cut or 
painted on either side of the forecastle a huge eye, as though 
the crew were anxious to increase the power of vision of 
their vessel, so that it might more readily pick its way 
through the numerous dangerous reefs and coral ba,nks. On 
the other hand the superstitious sea-faring Chinese sometimes 
veil and cover up the eyes of their vessels, in order that they 
should not behold certain strange things passing by, as, for 
instance, a dead body, or an approaching thunder-storm, 
and not be frightened by them.* 

The nearer we approached the coast, the more was our 

• A Chinese sailor, on being asked why his vessel had an eye painted on its bul- 
wark, replied in Canton-English, " Suppose no hab eye, how can see ?" 

Approach to Ilong-Jcong. 3^3 

gaze rlvcttcd by a landscape of the most imposing character, 
and now not owing to the attitude of the hills (for the high- 
est peak is only 3000 feet), hut to the grandeur of their form 
and their contour. Here are sharp, needle-shaped pinnacles, 
their steep rocky cones reminding one of the Sugar Loaf at 
Rio, and then round shoulders of hills, and far-extending 
ranges, penetrated by deep defiles, all nearly perpendicular, 
and without any extent of level land, and rising sheer out 
of the sea. These mountain-ranges are almost entirely naked, 
or covered only with a scanty grass or bush vegetation : no 
tree, no forest hides the majestic groups of rocks and stones, 
and when the setting sun picked out with dark, well-defined 
shadows the sharp outline of the granite rock, it was as though 
there lay before us a '^ bit " of the Swiss Alps, bathed in the 
sea as far as the limit of forest-vegetation, and our sailors 
contemplated with redoubled enjoyment a scene which re- 
minded them of their native Dalmatia. 

As the night was dark, with neither moonlight nor light- 
house (of which latter there is unfortunately an utter lack 
here), we could not venture to wind our way through the 
narrow channel into the harbour of Hong-kong, on the north 
side of the island, and we anchored therefore about 9 p. m. on 
the west side, in the Lemmas Channel ; and with the first 
beams of the sun, on the morning of the 5th July, we stood 
in to the enchanting harbour of Hong-kong. Where the pre- 
vious day wo could descry from seaward hardly any traces 
of human activity in the hills and rocks along the coast, 

VOL. II. 2 A 

354 Voyage of the Novara. 

so that tlie land seemed desolate and deserted, there now- 
smiled upon us, as we doubled Green Island, the city of 
Victoria, rising amphitheatre-like ; and, lying invitingly be- 
fore us, its harbour, all alive with numbers of stately ships 
and steamers, looking like an inland lake, — in fact, entirely 
land-locked. Several old ships of the line, which the English 
use as hospitals and coal depots, filled the back-ground, among 
which was the Royal Charlotte, 130 guns, the first three- 
decker that has passed the Equator. 

At 10 a. m. we cast anchor directly opposite the town ; 
and amid the flags of England, America, France, Holland, 
and Russia, there now flaunted proudly forth the flag of 
Austria ! 


rapid increase of the colony of "Victoria or Hong-kong. — Disagreeables. — 
Public character. — The Comprador, or " fac-totum." — A Chinese fortune-teller. — 
Curiosity-stalls. — The To-stone. — Pictures on so-called rice-paper. — Canton Eng- 
lish. — Notices on the Chinese language and mode of writing. — Manufacture of 
ink. — Hospitality of German missionaries. — The custom of exposing and mur- 
dering female children. — Method of dwarfing the female foot. — Sir John Bowiing. 
— Branch Institute of the Royal Asiatic Society. — An ecclesiastical dignitary on 
the study of natural sciences. — The Chinese in the East Indies. — Green indigo or 
Lix-Kao. — Kind reception by German countrymen. — Anthropometrical measure- 
ments. — Ramble to Little Hong-kong. — Excursion to Canton on board H. M. gun- 
boat Algerine. — A day at the English head-quarters. — The Treaty of Tien-Tsin. — 
Visit to the Portuguese settlement of Macao. — Herr von Carlowitz.— Camoens' 
Grotto. — Church for Protestants. — Pagoda Makok. — Dr, Kane. — Present position 
of the colony. — Slave-trade revived under the name of Chinese emigration. — Ex- 
cursions round Macao. — The Isthmus. — Chinese graves. — Praya Granite. — A 
Chinese physician. — Singing stones. — Departure. — GutzlafTs Island. — Voyage to 
the Yang-tse-Kiang. — Wusung. — Anival at Shanghai. 

Victoria, the name by which the settlement situate on the 
nortli side of the ishmd of Hong-kong is kno^vn in official 

2 A 2 

^^6 Voyage of tJie Novara. 

documents, strongly recalls another renowned British pos- 
session, Gibraltar. A mere uninviting granite rock of about 
9 miles in length, 8 in breadth, and 26 in circumference, 
Hong-kong, situate as it is at the mouth of the Canton River, 
is one of the best harbours in the Chinese Empire. Owing 
to the barren, treeless surface, which consists for the most 
part of chains of hills, the highest point of which is 1825 
foot above sea-level, with narrow valleys between, and a 
small extent of level ground around the bay, hardly a twen- 
tieth part of its sm-face is adapted to agriculture. The 
modern cheerful town, thoroughly European in character, 
has within these few years rapidly attained large dimen- 
sions, and its numerous palatial structures speak volumes for 
the wealth and prosperity of the residents. The buildings 
of the colony rise terrace-like one above another, and extend 
in rows all along the steep- slope of the granite, for a distance 
of nearly three miles. Besides the population inhabiting the 
town, many tliousand Chinese of the very lowest class with 
their wives and childi-en live here in small boats year after 
year, so that the total population of the island amounts to 
about 80,000 souls. 

Twenty years back Hong-kong was but an insignificant 
place. Only since the peace of Nangking in 1842, which 
shook to its foundation the exclusive system till then pre- 
valent, and among other important advantages secured the 
island of Hong-kong to the English, besides bringing into 
the community of nations the huge unwieldy empii-e with its 

Effects of the War of 1858 at Ilong-kong. 357 

400,000,000, occupying 78 degrees of longitude and 38 of lati- 
tude, has it been developed into the most important business 
centre of China. It became an emporium for all European 
manufactures, as well as for all produce from the interior, which 
is shipped hence to the various marts of the world. Unfortun- 
ately the period at wliich the flag of the gi^eat Mandjing, or 
Double Eagle, as the Chinese call Austria, was for the first 
time unfurled on the shores of the Celestial Kingdom proved 
most unsuitable for scientific observation. While in the 
interior a variety of circumstances seriously threatened the 
stability of the throne of the reigning djmasty, the flames 
of war were once more breaking out along the coast also, 
and adding to the confusion and distress of the Chinese 
diplomatists. In the present war the English were for the 
first time in these waters fighting side by side with the 
French, while the Russians and North Americans were 
cautiously maintaining an observant, but none the less on 
that account menacing attitude. The hatred and animosity 
of the Chinese populace, stirred up by their own authorities, 
was continually goaded to increasing fuiy with each new 
victory of the "red-haired barbarians." The Chinese bakers 
in Hong-kong had devised the cruel exj)edient of poisoning 
the bread purchased by the English, and thus avenging them- 
selves on the foe more fatally and more certainly than by 
Chinese weapons. Even while walking in the neighbourhood 
one's life was not safe, and even the usually not very easily 
terrified Englishman was now begirt with " revolvers," when 

^^8 Voyage of the Novara. 

lie rode forth of an afternoon with his wife, or was taken in 
a sedan chair to a friend's Iiouse of an evening. 

Shortly before our arrival, the captain of a merchant- 
man, while taking a walk outside the city, was set upon 
by some Chinese, robbed, and so severely maltreated that 
he expired of the injuries he received. So too the clerk of 
a mercantile house had been picked up just outside the city 
weltering in his blood and pierced with a number of womids 
from a dagger, the murderer in this case also evading detec- 
tion. An attempt was even made against the life of the 
Governor, Sir John Bowring, which was only frustrated 
through the vigilance of the sentinel, who discharged his 
piece at the scoundrels just as, favoured by niglit, they were 
stealing over the walls of the Government-house, with the 
view of creeping through the garden as far as Sir John's 

Even in the most ordinary domestic matters might be 
traced the same relentless hostility on the part of the Chinese, 
and the state of affairs was becoming every day more in- 
tolerable to the European residents. All the domestic 
servants at Hong-kong are Chinese, who come hither from 
the nearest provinces of the mainland, in order to benefit 
by the rate of wages paid by the ^' foreign barbarian." The 
Chinese officials, vying with each other in every possible 
method of showing their implacable hatred to the strangers 
and to embitter their life in China, now issued an order to 
all the Chinese resident in Hong-kong to quit the island and 

Severity of the Chinese Laws. 359 

return to tlicir native country. This ordinance would as- 
suredly have been disregarded by most of the resident 
Chinese of the Middle Empire, had not any violation of the 
Imperial rescripts been visited with such appalling conse- 
quences. For by the Draconic laws of the Empire, the family 
of the criminal expiate his offence, should he take to flight 
and get beyond the reach of the arm of Chinese justice. 
For any such absentee from justice, some other member of 
the family is substituted, who may be still on the spot ; as for 
instance, tlie father, mother, or brother, who is punished 
exactly as though he had in person been guilty of the crime 
or misdemeanour. With such terrific means of repressing 
disobedience impending over him, no Chinese would venture 
to set at defiance the orders of the Mandarins ; and accord- 
ingly, during the summer of 1858, 10,000 Chinese returned 
home at once ; others, who did not dare to return, but could 
not endure that the ruthless doom should be executed upon 
their relatives, committed suicide. The position of European 
ladies in Hong-kong became anything but enviable, as they 
had at a moment's notice to take up the pot-ladle for them- 
selves, and get through the various fatiguing details of their 
households with what skill they could. Moreover there was 
good ground for ajiprehension that the Mandarins might cut 
off all communications with the neighbouring provinces, which 
move, as the greater part of the every- day necessaries of 
life are supplied from the mainland, might have exposed the 
population of Ilong-kong to the severest straits. 

360 Voyage of the Novara. 

Under these circumstances any more remote excursions, 
or visits to tlie adjacent mainland, were of course impossible. 
We had to confine our investigations to the island itself, 
there to collect what memoranda we could, and see as much 
of the island and its inhabitants as the shortness of our stay 
and the prevailing disorders might admit. 

Life in Hong-kong has already a strong leaven of western 
civilization. Only in the narrowest streets does the visitor 
come upon examples of the genuine Chinese type. Most 
of the natives even inhabit houses built in the European 
style, so that one feels as though in a European city in- 
habited by a Chinese population, the latter having however 
greatly altered from its originality. Only very few types of 
Chinese popular life are met with in this English colony. Of 
these characters the most interesting and unique is the Com- 
prador (llai-^yau), a sort of factotum, whom no household 
can dispense with, and whose importance only those can 
adequately do justice to who have lived some time in the 
country. The Comprador, or shroffs is the soul, the good or 
evil genius, of the house : he sees to all sorts of purchases, 
manages the domestic economy, and maintains order and 
discipline in the house and household. Tlie entire do- 
mestic control is exclusively lodged in his hands, to that 
extent that even the master and mistress of the house may 
not, without consulting the Comprador, dismiss one of tlie 
servants or engage a new one. For all that goes on, the 
latter is responsible. He has to answer for the honesty of 

The Chinese " Comprador ' or Factotum. 361 

the servants, and must replace anything tliat may have 
gone amissing from the house inventory. If the family 
leave their house for any time, the Comprador is informed 
of the place where the most valual)le articles are deposited, 
where they are more likely to be found in proper order on 
their return than by any other device. Even during the late 
war, in which the feeling of the Chinese to the Europeans was 
anything but friendly, the Comprador held to ]iis fidelity, 
and was as useful as ever. In view of the actual state of 
matters, a traveller must feel no little astonishment at be- 
holding the doors and windows of the private dwelling- 
houses everywhere wide open, and valuable articles lying 
exposed in the various apartments. As however the Com- 
prador himself must get a number of bails to become respon- 
sible for him, and as the post is a very profitable one, it 
follows that there are but few cases of dishonesty in this 
singular profession. It is especially remarkable that few of 
the populace seem to be as hostile to the strangers as the 
Mandarins, and all the numerous annoyances inflicted on the 
latter are invariably to be traced to the intrigues of the 
Chinese authorities. How else would it be possible for a 
couple of hundred Europeans to rule a colony in which are 
80,000 Cliinese, and which moreover is dependent upon the 
mainland for the very first necessities of life .'' 

The Comprador receives for all his services and attentions 
no higher pay than from 12 to 15 dollars a month, besides 
support for himself and family. This liowevcr is not his 

362 Voyage of the Novara. 

sole income, as every tradesman must give tlie Comprador a 
per-centage upon everything, even tlie most insignificant 
article that enters the house, and this custom even extends 
to any purchases made by a Chinese in the warehouses of the 
foreign merchant. 

Another ''public character," whom one frequently meets 
in the lower parts of the city in the public streets of the 
Chinese quarter, is the '' soothsayer." On a small table 
before him stands an open draught-board with a number of 
squares, on which are inscribed a variety of proverbs and 
oracular sayings. In each square is a grain of rice, and 
quite close to tlie board is a bird-cage with a tame canary. 
Presently some good-humoui'ed gaping rustic comes up, who 
wishes to learn his destiny, upon which the soothsayer 
suffers the canary to hop out of his cage upon one of the 
squares, and pick up a grain of rice ad libitum. The sen- 
tences and interpretations, which are inscribed on each square 
from which the canary snaps up his food serve for a reply 
and decision to the curious questioner, who hands over a 
small Jionorariu7n. The apparatus is simple and ingenious, 
but the proverbs are excessively silly, and recall much less the 
land of Confucius than the dream-books of certain countries 
standing high in European civilization. 

The stores which seem most to attract the attention of a 
stranger are the '' Curiosity-shops," in which are heaped up 
those innumerable articles of Chinese industry and Cliinese 
taste which are so characteristic of the country and its 

Contents of a Chinese ^' Curiosity -sliopy '^6'y^ 

iiiliabitaiits. Here tlic eye rests upon objects of tlie most 
bizarre shapes, which in material design and execution 
are totally unlike Anything the European sees elsewhere ; 
workmanshij^ in wood and stone, that illustrates in a re- 
markable manner tlie extraordinary patience of the artisan, 
such as drinking-cups, barrels, frames, cut all in one piece, 
and beautifully carved, elegant fancy articles of horn, stone, 
mother-of-pearl, ivory, roots of trees, metal, or wood, vases 
and dishes, statuettes in copper and clay, woven portraits, 
embroidery, &c. &c. 

Among all these various manufactures, one es2:)ecially 
remarks those prepared from a leek-green, slimy-feeling 
stone (nej^hrite), which is in much request among the Chinese, 
and is higlily valued. The Chinese name, Yo, from which 
in all probability is derived the French name Jade^ does 
not indicate however a peculiar species, but is used for all 
sorts of carved stone- work and gems, while the most valuable 
one is called by the Chinese the ''mutton-fat" stone. The 
articles prepared of what is named steatite, or soap-stone, are 
largely used in commerce, but are of very small value, and 
usually cut only in very clumsy figures. 

But these manufactures make much less impression upon the 
stranger than the beautiful pictm'es of the Chinese artists upon 
rice-paper, a peculiar branch of art, cultivated by the Chinese 
alone, and which as yet has never been successfully imitated in 
any other country. The most exquisite specimens of these are 
sent to Canton, but among the Chinese in Hong-kong we 

364 Voyage of the Novara. 

saw several beautiful works in this style of painting. The 
common designation of rice-paper has led to the erroneous 
idea that the substance of which these pictures are made 
is manufactured from the leaves of the rice-plant, whereas 
it is prepared from the pith of an entirely different plant 
{Aralia papyrifera), which grows in Fiman and Tukun. The 
marrow is steeped for some time in water, after whicli it is 
split by means of very keen sharp knives into thin leaves, 
which are then subjected to gentle pressure. The largest 
are about a foot square, and are reserved almost exclusively 
for pictures, the shreds and inferior sorts alone being used 
for the manufacture of artificial flowers. We saw portraits 
of the Emperor and Empress, of the rebel leader, Tai-ping, 
of the notorious Yeh, ex-governor of Canton, and other well- 
known or conspicuous personages. Latterly there has sprung 
up a strong tendency among the Chinese artists to daguerreo- 
types and photograj)hs in miniature upon ivory ; and in the 
ateliers of Hong-kong a number of artists were engaged in this, 
at present the most profitable branch of Chinese artistic skill. 
In all these shops the medium of trade is wliat is called 
Canton English, less a dialect than a confused jargon of 
English and Chinese words, consisting of concessions made 
on either side to the grammar and idiom of the other, so as 
the more readily to comprehend each other. A few Spanish 
and Portuguese words have also crept in, recalling the former 
relations of these countries with China. All English words 
ending in e mute have in this gibberish an i attached to 

Canton English. — Difficidtij of mastering Chinese. 365 

them, as also all other words whatever. Thus they say timi^ 
housiy pieci, coachi, cooJci^ &c. &c. There are certain Chinese, 
especially in Canton, who pick up a living by initiating 
young country follis, who are about entering service in 
English mercantile houses, in this singular language. 
Cm'ious and unpleasant as this Chinese English dialect 
sounds in the ears of strangers, it is found greatly to facili- 
tate intercourse with the Chinese, in consequence of the im- 
mense difficulties attending the study of Chinese, so that most 
Europeans find it far more comfortable to master this jargon, 
which is not without some influence on the spread of English 
in the chief commercial cities, than to occupy themselves with 
mastering Chinese. The language spoken by the sons of the 
" middle kingdom" consists of 450 monosyllabic sounds, 
which by various delicate differences in accentuation may in- 
crease to about 1600. The slight, and to unaccustomed ears 
almost inappreciable, shades of aspiration and accentuation, 
are the main difficulty in the way of foreigners desirous of 
learning the Chinese language. 

To learn the written characters is equally arduous, and 
requires not less time and perseverance; for this does not 
consist of a number of letters, the varying arrangement of 
which constitutes words, but of 40,000 more or less compli- 
cated signs, each of which expresses a whole word. They are 
rude forms, representing most imperfectly ideas and material 
objects ;* however, the knowledge of 4000 to 6000 such signs, 

* The analysis of these hieroglyphics, by which abstract ideas are sought to be 

366 ' Voyage of the Novara. 

with their various significations, suffices to understand most 
of the common Chinese books. These singular hieroglyphics 
are not written horizontally but vertically. Moreover, the 
Chinese begin from the right side, so that, directly the re- 
verse of the European custom, the title of a Chinese book is 
found on the first page, the leaf furthest to the right hand. 
Long ago, the Chinese, like most other Asiatic nations at the 
present day, wrote with metal styli upon split leaves of bam- 
boo. Ever since the third century before Christ, however, 
when the art was invented of making paper from the rind of 
the mulberry tree and the bamboo cane, and preparing pin- 
soot, glair, musk, glue, Indian-ink* (meli), and other sub- 
expressed, is extremely interesting. Thus a heart with the badge of slavery over it 
represents " anger ;" a hand, and the sign for the middle, signifies an " historian," 
because it is his duty not to lean to either side ; by the sign of uprightness and 
motion is represented "government," because it must always observe probity in the 
transaction of affairs ; to indicate the idea of a " friend " two pearls are represented 
side by side, because friendship is as rare as two pearls, exactly resembling each 
other! The well-known French missionary Hue, in his valuable work on the 
Chinese Empire, gives a variety of most interesting particulars respecting the 
Chinese language. 

* A very abstruse treatise upon the preparation of the Chinese ink is contained in 
the important labours of the Russian Embassy at Pekin, relating to China, publish- 
ed in German by Dr. Abel and Mecklenburg, Berlin, F. Heinike, 1858, vol. ii. 
p. 481. The information is borrowed from a small treatise which was written in 
1398 by a certain Scheu-zsi-Sun, who had beep for thirty years engaged in the 
fabrication of the India ink. The author therein mentions how, after he had tried 
every Jcnown method, and every substance usually employed, without attaining any 
result, he at last put them all on one side, mingling only pin-soot with glue together, 
and diluting this mixture with but hot water, again kneaded it thoroughly, and thus 
succeeded in getting an ink " black and lustrous as a child's eyes." According to 
another method, India ink is prepared, besides pin-soot and lime, of a sort of tincture, 
consisting of the following various pigments, — pomegranate-rind, sandal-wood, sul- 
phate of iron and copper, gamboge, cinnobar, dragon's-blood, gold-leaf, musk, and 
glair. This tint is said to be remarkable for preventing the glue fi'om getting spoiled 

Composition of Chinese Ink. 367 

stances, the pencil has taken the place of the graver. The 
hieroglyphics now made on paper are softer, more elegant, 
and in distinctness of outline admit greater varieties of form. 
Most of the Chinese whom we saw engaged in writing 
formed the most complicated characters with great celerity 
and ease upon the thin paper, and without the firm strokes 
losing anything of their neatness and clearness of outline. 

Among the various scientific objects recommended as 
important objects of inquiry to the members of the Expedi- 
tion, dming their visit to China, by the renowned sinologue 
Dr. Pfitzmaier, was the obtaining of rare Chinese books, 
and the elucidation of certain ethnographic and linguistic 
questions. Whatever was achieved by us in throwing light 
upon these matters is due in great measm'e to the cordial 
reception with which we were received by men of science 
resident at Hong-kong. Especially we would name in this 
respect Dr. M. Lobscheid, a German by birth, a missionary 
and inspector of schools, who, thoroughly conversant with the 
Chinese language, exerted himself to the utmost in for- 
warding the objects of the scientific corps, besides assisting us 
in the purchase of a variety of the most valuable Chinese 
works, and giving us much interesting information re- 
specting the country and the inhabitants. Dr. Lobscheid 

by age, or the colour changing, and may be thus kept for any length of time. 
4 lb. of glue and \ lb. of this colouring matter are the proportions for one pound of 
pin-soot. However, only a very small portion of the different materials used seems 
to possess the power ascribed to them, and many are used out of mere prejudice, and 
not at all to the advantage of the ink prepared. 

368 Vofjage of the Novara. 

himself has a well-selected, valuable, and extensive library 
of rare Chinese works on geography, natural science, history, 
philology, and numismatics, and presented a number of 
valuable gifts to the Expedition. One of his colleagues. 
Dr. Ph. Winnes, also a German, and a missionary from the 
Mission Society of Bale, compiled for us a list of words of 
the Hakka dialect, as spoken in the interior of the province of 
Quang-Tung, hitherto so little known philologically. It is 
indeed astonishing what English, and Grerman, and Ameri- 
can missionaries have effected as publicists, during the short 
period they have been resident here. The educational and 
religious works published in Chinese -at the expense of the 
various religious societies form already quite a respectable 
literature of themselves, although the Chinese language puts 
as many obstacles in the way of mere Christian civilization 
as in that of tlie propagation of the^Evangile itself. Most of 
the missionaries consider any attempt to substitute Romish 
for Chinese characters as being quite vain. The indistinct- 
ness of Chinese signs has already been fruitful of much 
controversy among the missionaries themselves. Thus, for 
example, those engaged in promulgating the Christian faith 
are not as yet agreed by what Chinese word the God of 
Christianity may best be indicated. The Roman Catholic 
missionaries write TientscJiu (the Highest of all things) ; the 
English and German Protestants use the sign Schang-Ti (the 
Most High) ; the American Protestants make use of the word 
Schin (Spirit). These varieties of opinion as to the mode of 

Prevalence of Infanticide. 369 

expressing tlie idea of " God," have given rise to a vast 
number of publications, vrhicli however have unfortunately 
tended rather to envenom the dispute than smooth the way 
to a common understanding. 

Conspicuous, however, as are the services of the mission- 
aries in the publication and diffusion of useful and moral 
books in the Chinese language, their direct efforts have, on 
the other hand, been attended with but limited results 
hitherto, and although it is always laid down as an axiom in 
the books and manifestoes of the Tai-Ping insurgents, that 
the doctrines of Christianity, as deduced from the writings of 
the Missionary Societies, are the leading j^rinciple of the 
movement, yet, as set forth and promulgated by the in- 
sm'gent chiefs, they cannot be said to deserve recognition 
by any known form of Christianity. 

As in their religion, so in their mode of life, and their 
national customs, the Chinese remain stiff-necked and obstin- 
ate, and in tliis direction also Christianity is in but few 
cases capable of mitigating their frequently barbarous 
customs. Children in China are constantly exposed in large 
numbers, and that not owing to poverty, but from in- 
difference to the female children. One Chinese woman who 
at present professes Christianity, and is a member of the 
Bale missionary community, has herself killed eight female 
children whom she had herself carried in her womb ! Dr. 
Lobscheid informed us that he was personally cognizant of 

VOL. II. 2 B 

3 70 Voyage of the Novara. 

one case, where a Chinese motlier-in-law, irritated at the 
birth of a female child, murdered it before its mother's eyes, 
almost immediately after it had come into the world, and 
this in a rather well-to-do family ! Young mothers often lay 
their children down in the open field, or on the sea-beach, 
watching anxiously if any one takes it away, or till a wave 
mercifully sweeps it oif. One such infant, accidentally found 
by some of the crew of the English frigate NanJcin^ and 
tended with all the tender-heartedness of Jack when he finds 
an object of compassion, is at present in the German Mission 
House at Hong-kong, and was baptized in the cathedral by 
the chaplain of the frigate, who gave her the name of 
Victoria Nankin. Other mothers endeavour to choke the 
new-born girl with moistened ashes, which, not unfrequently 
with caressing hand, they lay upon the mouth of the 
little unconscious innocent. Male children, on the other 
hand, even such as are crippled or deformed, are very 
seldom, indeed quite excej^tionally, exposed or put to death. 
In proportion to the harsh treatment which the female off- 
spring experience, is the pride and anxious carefulness which 
wait on the male children. Indeed the Chinese are very 
much in the habit of having several wives, simply because 
by so doing they of course have a better chance of a 
number of male offspring, and it very frequently happens 
that the lawful wife of a Chinaman, if she has continued any 
length of time childless, will even seek out and bring to her 
husband a concubine by whom he may have heii"s, that is, 

Polygamtj and Concubinage permitted. 371 

sons* In sucli cases the two wives usually continue on the 
best of terms, which cannot be said of those instances where 
the second or third wife is introduced into the family by the 
husband, without the intervention of his wife. According to 
the old Chinese law, the man had to be thirty, the woman 
twenty, before marriage. At present marriages, as a rule, are 
made between sixteen and twenty years of age. It may be 
assumed that one in every fifteen Chinese has more than one 
wife ; the first, usually known as " number one," is generally 
taken from inclination, whereas the rest are usually bought, 
the price varying, according to their youth and beauty, from 
100 to 600 dollars. This custom gives rise to quite a peculiar 
trade. Chinese women make a practice of purchasing for 
themselves from the poorer classes such of the female 
children as are of good health and well-formed, whom they 
bring up with great care, with the view of selling them, when 
grown up, to the wealthy Chinese, and even sometimes to — 
European residents.! The custom of child-murder is most 
prevalent in the coast districts of the province of Fo-kien, so 
that latterly there was a positive scarcity of women, and 
marriageable girls had to be imported from the northern part 
of the province. The prevalence of this custom of child - 
murder in these localities is to be ascribed to the enormous 
migration of the male population to Siam, to the islands 

* This custom is of remote antiquity in Oriental countries, as witness the circum- 
stances attending the birth of Ishmael, and also of several of the children of Israel. 

t Many European residents at Hong-kong and Shanghai have Chinese mistresses 

bought in this way, who arc hound to live with them only so long as their masters 


2 B 2 

372- Voyage of the Novara. 

of tlie Malay Archipelago, and other points. These emigrants 
supply the labour market in foreign countries, and but 
seldom return to their families. Numerous placards and 
pamphlets, pointing out the enormity of child-murder, and 
dissuading from its commission, are printed annually, partly 
at the cost of philanthropists, partly at that of the Chinese 
Government, and widely diffused, yet without producing any 
diminution in the practice of this appalling custom. 

The custom of distorting the feet of the better class of 
women at the period of their birth, seems to have arisen from 
the jealousy of the husbands, who in thus preventing the 
possibility of gadding about, think they have secured an 
additional guarantee for the fidelity and chastity of their 
wives. However, one occasionally hears the first introduc- 
tion of this singular and cruel custom ascribed to a Chinese 
empress having once been born with such distortion of the 
feet, and that in consequence it not only became the fashion 
among the females of the higher class in those days, out of 
pure obsequiousness, to imitate by artificial means a dis- 
figuration accidentally arising from a freak of Nature, but 
even to recognize it as a necessary concomitant of the 
Chinese ideal of beauty. 

The Governor of Hong-kong, Sir John Bowring, a dis- 
tinguished savant, who received the members of the Expedi- 
tion with the utmost consideration, invited them to his house 
and endeavoured to bring them into personal communication 
witli those residents in the colony most interested in scientific 


Reception by Sir John Boivr'ing, 373 

pursuits, so that eacli one of us could consult with the gentle- 
man best able to advise him in his own department, and thus 
attain in the shortest time the most satisfactory results. Sir 
John, moreover, as President of the China Branch of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, admitted the members of the Expedi- 
tion to the honours of an extraordinary session. He welcomed 
the Austrian naturalists in the heartiest manner, and expressed 
the most flattering anticipations from their visit. Very de- 
serving of remark was the speech made on this occasion by 
the Lord Bishop of Hong-kong. In his capacity of a digni- 
tary of the Church, he too bade us welcome in the warmest 
manner, and expressed his conviction that Christianity had 
nothing to fear, but only to hope, from the study of natural 
sciences ! What would certain ultramontanists, had they been 
present, have replied to this remark of a high ecclesiastical dig- 
nitary ? — they who consider government impossible without 
restricting the study of the natural sciences ! 

Among the various subjects discussed at this meeting were 
several of great interest, which sufficiently evidenced what a 
thorough disposition to mental activity the English show, even 
in a place where material interests are necessarily the main 
objects of attention, and where they, moreover, are continu- 
ally exposed to great personal danger. 

One of the communications received by the Society was a 
memoir by Mr. W. Alabaster, who had accompanied ex-govern- 
or Yell to Calcutta as interpreter, treating of the Chinese 
population there, and its influence on the state of society. 

374 Voyage of the Novara. 

The memoir contained the very remarkable statement that 
the Chinese colony in Calcutta, which in 1858 comited little 
more than 500 souls, had not alone monopolized several em- 
ployments, such as shoemakers, tailors, &c., but had, even 
when thousands of miles distant from home, jealously main- 
tained several of their customs and rites intact. This Chinese 
community, so inconsiderable in point of mere numbers, 
already possesses its own temple, its own priests, and its own 
teachers, who guard any Chinese immigrants from the perils 
of proselytism ; it has founded a special association, whose 
object it is to transmit to their native land the bodies of such 
as die abroad, while their luxury is beginning to develope itself 
to the extent of ordering from China at considerable expense 
troops of actors, so as even at this distance to provide them- 
selves with the national amusement of a genuine Sing-Song. 
This peculiarity is of great importance, inasmuch as the 
emigration from China is ever assuming more extended dimen- 
sions, and already embraces several portions of the world. 
We find Chinese scattered throughout Eastern Asia, in Aus- 
tralia, in California, in Peru, in Brazil, in the West Indies, 
and, what is very astonishing they thrive and prosper at most 
places they visit, despite the not very humane treatment they 
receive, and the wretched, desolate state in which they leave 
their homes. This enormous emigration of the sons of the 
Flowery Land seems destined to be of immense importance, 
and to be fraught with momentous influence upon the future 
of the other Asiatic populations, whom the Chinese greatly 

Religious and Physical Qualifications as Pioneers of Asia. 375 

excel in capacity for work, mechanical dexterity, and dogged 
perseverance. Even the religious movement gives the Chinese 
certain advantages over all other nations of the Asiatic 
type of civilization. The Hindoo, like the Catholic, has num- 
bers of festivals, which greatly diminish the number of his 
actual working days; the daily ceremonies prescribed by 
Brahminism further curtail the most precious hom^s of 
labour ; his exclusively vegetarian food not alone prevents 
the proper development of his muscular power, but also by 
its ostentatiously morbid delicacy, brings him constantly into 
collision with the social order of a Christian household. The 
Chinese, on the other hand, keeps but one holiday -time, the 
beginning of the new year, which he celebrates for fourteen 
days without intermission. But the remaining 11 J months 
of the year are for him but one long day of work. Moreover, 
the Chinese has no fastidious notions about his food. He eats 
pork, and drinks wine, and prefers fat meat to meagre fruit 
diet, thoroughly unrestrained by any considerations as to 
whether such a mode of life accords with the institutes of 
Brahma and Menu, or the teaching of Confucius. Their so- 
briety, their capacity, their industry, their frugal mode of life, 
and theii' numbers, all seem to indicate the Chinese as 
destined to play an important part, not alone in the develop- 
ment of the Oriental nations, but also in the history of man- 
kind. They are, as a German philosopher has profoundly 
remarked, the Greeks and Romans of Eastern Asia, and they 
will, if once hurried onwards by the great tide of Christian 

376 Voyage of the Novara. 

civilization, perform such feats as to fill even the nations of 
the old world with wonder and amazement. 

Another communication, made during the same meeting of 
this meritorious branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in Hong- 
kong, related to that singular plant, which has within the 
last few years excited so much attention in industrial circles 
throughout Europe under the name of '' Green dye," or 
'' Vert Chinois." Notwithstanding the experiments hitherto 
made with this valuable dye, and the excellent use which has 
been made of it, more especially by the Chamber of Commerce 
at Lyons, the first in Europe to make application of the new 
colour, there was yet much to be learned respecting the mode 
of raising and manufacturing it, in order to render its em- 
ployment entirely practicable. The elegant pamphlet of the 
Lyons Chamber of Commerce * had just arrived from Europe, 
and led to a variety of interesting investigations. Nothing 
was known in Hong-kong respecting the plant beyond what 
was already contained in Robert Fortune's excellent work 
and Rondot's treatise. Somewhat later, we were furnished 
with more accurate and circumstantial information respecting 
the Lu-Kao, the well-known '' Green dye " of the English (a 
species of Rhamnus or buckthorn), which we shall here tran- 
scribe pretty fully. f 

* The title of this work is : — " Notices sur le vert de Chine et de la teinfure en vert 
chez les Chinois, par Nalulis Rondot, imprime aux frais de la Chamhre de Commerce de 
Lyon, a Paris, 1858." 

t The Chinese of Shanghai called the plant Li-lu-schu, and the substance obtained 
from it Gah-schik. 

Preparation of Lu-Kao, or " Green Dye^ 377 

Lu-Kao is grown chiefly in tlie northern provinces, exten- 
sive plantations of this valuable plant existing in the country 
around Foo-Chow and the environs of the city of Haening. 
The valuable green dye matter is obtained, however, from 
the rind, not of one but of two species of Rhaninus^ of which the 
" yellow" grows on the flats, the ''white" on the high-groimds 
in a wild state. The preparation of the substance, which does 
not differ much in appearance from common indigo, is exceed- 
ingly primitive. Both plants are boiled for a considerable 
time in iron kettles, the yellow deposit or residuum being 
suffered to remain undisturbed for several days. Transferred 
thence into earthen vessels, a piece of cotton cloth is steeped 
into it five or six times, after which the adherent dye is wrung 
out, and exposed a second time to the process of boiling in 
iron pans. The next step in the manipulation consists in per- 
mitting the dye stuff, which now has much more consistence, 
to be soaked up by some pieces of cotton, when it is once 
more washed, sprinkled upon thin paper, and, lastly, exposed 
for some time to the sun. 

The Chinese have as yet only used the dye for colouring 
cloths of coarse texture ; all attempts hitherto to apply it to 
silks, &c., have proved fruitless. But the great development of 
chemical science in Europe justifies us in expecting that a 
method will ere long be de\4sed for fixing this beautiful, dur- 
able light green tint, which does not alter even in candle- 
light, upon fabrics of fine smooth textm-e, and thus greatly 
enhance its value in the industrial arts. The Lu-Kao has 

378 Voyage of the Novara. 

from time immemorial been used by the Chinese in water- 
colour paintings, but its use in industrial processes only dates 
from about 20 years back. The very price charged for the 
small quantities hitherto brought from China, is by no means 
natural, but seems to have been artificially forced up by specu- 
lation, apparently in consequence of an unusual demand. 
In Foo-Chow the price of one Catti, about If lbs., is 20 Taels^ 
or about £6 IO5. Were the production of this dye stuif really 
so expensive, we may be sure it would not be made use of by 
the Chinese for their ordinary stuffs, nor could these be sold as 
cheap as they are. We have found our opinion confirmed 
by competent observers in various parts of China, that this 
valuable product is susceptible of being acclimatized in 
Europe, and of being cultivated with profit, especially in those 
places where, together with favourable conditions of tempera- 
ture and soil, the wages of labour are not too high. 

Like the English authorities and Government officials, our 
German fellow-countrymen, resident in Hong-kong, did not 
fail to exercise their hospitality for the benefit of the associates 
of the Expedition, and we cannot sufficiently express our obli- 
gations to the Austrian Consul, Mr. G. Wiener, and the Prussian 
vice-consul, Mr. Gustav Oberbeck, for their delicate attention. 
The latter presented the Expedition with a number of arti- 
cles interesting as illustrating the advances of civilization, 
which he had obtained during the siege of Canton, in Dec. 
1857, and of which the greater part have since been deposited 
at the Imperial Cabinet of Antiquities at Vienna. 

Visit to '' Little Ilong-kong T 379 

Through the kindness and interest of Dr. Ilarland (since 
deceased), surgeon-in-chief of the colony, some of the mem- 
bers of the Expedition were enabled to make corporeal 
nieasm'ements in the great prison, the inmates of which come 
from the most various parts of the empire, as well as in the 
hospital, upon a number of individuals of either sex, all " fair 
specimens of the Chinese race," as Dr. Harland assured them, 
the results of which will be found in the anthropological 
section of the Novara publications. 

Before the frigate left Hong-kong, despite the insecurity 
of public affairs, several excursions were made to the south 
side of the island, to Canton, and to the Portuguese settle- 
ment of Macao, which proved as interesting as they were 

In the course of their peregrinations about the mountains 
on the island, as far as the fishing village on the south side of 
the island, known as Little Hong-kong (sweet- waters), the na- 
turalists of the Expedition were accompanied by Dr. Hance, the 
botanist, and the missionary, Dr. Lobscheid, both thoroughly 
acquainted with the Chinese language. Little as the pretty 
name of this small settlement, founded so far back as 1668, 
is aj)plicable to the entire island, it yet corresponds well, and 
is eminently suitable, to the smiling valley, entirely shut in 
by lofty rocks, in which lies wretched Little Hong-kong. A 
beautiful wood filled with tufts of flowers, forming for the 
labours of the botanist a rich supply of the most splendid 
plants, and refreshed by copious springs of water from the 

380 Voyage of the Novara, 

mountains, constitute a lovely landscape. Above the limit 
of vegetation of the foliage trees, are seen on the slopes 
of the mountain groups of pines, while the level ground at 
the bottom of the valley is laid out in smiling rice fields. 
The miserable inhabitants of the village, which looks gloomily 
out from among the trees, are not safe from the predatory 
onslaughts of ferocious pirates, even among the recesses of 
the valley. The streets of the village, hidden between trees, 
are uncommonly narrow, so that two men can scarcely pass 
each other, and the huts are all placed on purpose close 
against each other, in order, we were told, to be able more 
easily to admit of defence. Our rambles were rewarded 
with an abundant collection of specimens, and were par- 
ticularly instructive in a geognostical point of view, as satis- 
fying us that the island does not consist entirely of granite, 
but that a large proportion of the mountain is porphyritic. 

Another excursion was made by the Commodore and some 
of his staff as far as Canton. The Commandant of the station. 
Commodore Stewart, had for this purpose placed the gun- 
boat Algerine at our disposal. The distance from Hong-kong 
to Canton is about 87 nautical miles (100 statute miles), 
and the voyage took full eleven hours, viz. from 6.30 a.m. to 
5.30 p.m. 

Canton, the third capital of the Chinese Empire, and its 
most flourishing commercial city, which but a short time be- 
fore had numbered about 1,000,000 inhabitants, was at this 
period a desolate, almost entirely abandoned mass of houses, 

Wretched Condition of Canton. 381 

half in ruins, lialf burnt. The stately European factories, 
which had adorned the banks of the river up to the walls of 
the Chinese city, were heaps of ashes. The floating town 
upon the river itself, the renowned flower-boats of Canton, 
with their marvellous splendour and their luxurious beauty, 
had entirely disappeared, leaving no trace. Whoever had 
anything to lose had fled the country. English sentinels 
patrolled the walls and occupied the streets of the interior 
of the city, and only the very poorest of the mob remained 
behind, watching every op2:)ortunity of getting the " head- 
money," which the Mandarins of the province of Kuang-Tung 
had offered for every head of a "barbarian" brought in. 
" The state of matters in Canton gets worse and worse every 
day," said the latest issue of the Hong-kong journals. Since 
the Americans and Russians had concluded jorivate treaties 
with the Imperial Government, and the English and French 
allied fleet had gone north to the Gulf of Pe-Cheli, to treat at 
Tien-Tsin with the Imperial commissioners, the Chinese of 
Canton had been plucking up corn-age. They conceived the 
allies to be isolated ; the Russians and the Americans they held 
to be hostile to them. The Mandarins and Imperial com- 
missioners launched proclamations by the dozen at the 
" foreign devils," * set on foot organized Guerilla bands, 

* We give the following translation of one of these proclamations : " Listen, O 
Ustcn, ye detestable barbarians ! We, patriots and honourable subjects of the reign- 
ing djmasty, wnsh to hold up a mirror to you, that ye may see what ye are doing, and 
what like you are ! Only in speech, and in no other respect, do ye differ from wild 
beasts ! We have understanding, we observe laws and commandments ; but you are 

382 Voyage of the ^ovara. 

which were called "Braves," who every night discharged 
rockets into the city, murdered and pillaged, and kept the 
allied troops, who were only 3500 strong (800 of whom were 
in hospital) almost continually on the alert. 

When the gun-boat Algerine arrived off Canton, the Com- 
modore, although it was late in the evening, was accom- 
panied by a military escort to the head-quarters of General 
Straubenzee, commander of the allied troops. A stillness 
as of a grave-yard reigned throughout the city, and not a light 
was to be seen. By 10.30 p.m. the Commodore reached the 
post, and was most hospitably received by the General. The 

blind and dumb, and will not receive advice. You must— there is nothing else for 

it_you mu&t be cut off to the very last man ! Since you first came 

to the Middle Kingdom, you have done all that you can to destroy us ; you have 
shot at us from your ships ; you have poisoned us with opium, you have erected 
devils' houses (churches) within the walls of the city ! Nay more, in order to hold 
your horse-races, you have profaned graves, and not suffered the dead to rest in 
peace ! Insatiable as sharks, greedy as a set of silk-worms upon a mulberry tree, the 
more you get the more you want. Even our most trifling profit you have taken to 
yourselves. Now, however, the cup is full. Heaven in its wrath has decreed your 
destruction, — our people shall cut you off with divine weapons of fire. Hearken now, 
O people, to the four following rules for the extermination of the barbarians : AH bar- 
barians must be beheaded, that our reproach may be removed, and our Middle King- 
dom be no longer insulted. So runs the order of the leader! — To none other shall 
any disaster happen, no one shall be molested. Whoever strikes back, shall himself 

be struck The day of vengeance shall be secretly appointed. We 

shall circumvent the barbarians with treachery, we shall fall on them unawares, and 
destroy them. Natives who are in the habit of attending their schools, or of serving 
them, or of trading with them, must leave them and return to their old pursuits. "If 
they remain, then the subjects of the exceedingly beneficent dynasty as well as the 

barbarians, the diamonds and the hailstones, shall be destroyed together 

After the destruction of these hideous hordes, their possessions shall be distributed 
among those who have distinguished themselves on the day of battle. So runs the 
order of t he leader ! " 

Gorgeous " Yamun" of Yeh's Father. 383 

licad-quarters were situated on a hillock commanding the city, 
surrounded by the numerous buildings of a country-seat or 
YamuUj which had been the property of the father of Governor 
Yeh, who had acquired such notoriety during the recent warlike 
troubles. The ostentatious splendour of the apartments, the 
splendid ebony carved work, gave such an idea of the mag- 
nificence, the luxury, the gorgeousness of the Chinese princes, 
as can only be paralleled by what we read of the palaces of 
the emperors of ancient Rome. Yeh himself had by this 
time been removed from the political scene, and was a state 
prisoner in Calcutta, where he lived] in more than monastic 
seclusion. To judge by his portrait, which was for sale in 
all the print-shops of Hong-kong, Yeh was a fine-looking 
man with energetic features, and an expression full of in- 
tellect, and, so far as his physical appearance went, seemed 
to take after his father, who in his ninety-second year was 
still tasting joys of paternity. In his own country, even 
among the Europeans, Yeh enjoys the reputation of being not 
only an able diplomatist, but a man of varied information as 
well. While at Hong-kong we were shown some large 
anatomical wood-cuts, which Yeh had himself borrowed from 
a Euroj)ean work on anatomy, and published at his o\^ai 
cost on an enlarged scale, accompanied by a preface fr'om 
his pen.* 

Even more extensive and elegant in its outward aspect 
than that of Yeh, was the palace of the Tartar general Pih- 

* Yell, a;i ii well known, has since died in imprisonment at Calcutta. 

384 Voyage of the Novara. 

kwei, now employed for barracks and the officers of the Eng- 
lish and French commissariat, while a much less pretentious 
building had been assigned to the Tartar general for his 
present residence. 

The Commodore had reached head-quarters and was sit- 
ting at the tea-table with General Straubenzee, when an alarm 
of fire was heard. The '' Braves " had fired a house close by 
in the hope, it should seem, that the flames would catch the 
barracks as well as the powder depot, or at all events compel 
the English to withdraw their troops from the post, and give 
an opportunity for inflicting some loss on them. Fortunately, 
however, what had been set on fire burned quite out, without 
fulfilling the anticipations of the " Braves." 

In the course of a stroll, which our Commodore took with 
the General somewhat later in the night, they perceived that 
the Chinese kej)t up a continual flight of rockets against the 
sentries and buildings of the post, from a small eminence not 
two hundred yards distant, which was provided with ram- 
parts and cannon, and the Austrian 'guests greatly marvelled 
that no energetic steps were taken to obviate the disorders 
produced by these guerilla bands of Chinese, who every night 
with their incendiarism and fire-balls kept the city, the head- 
quarters, and the pickets in constant alarm, seeing that their 
inactivity only tended to animate the courage of the Chinese, 
while in such harassing service, unattended as it was with 
any results, their own forces, already very much reduced, 
v/cre proportionately weakened. 

Interview with Pi-Kwei, YeJis Successor. 385 

The morning after their arrival the Austrian officers, ac- 
companied by the English commissioner Mr. Parkes, whose 
imprisonment near Pekin has since made his name widely 
and universally known, paid a visit to the sole Chinese au- 
thority still remaining in the town, the Tartar General and 
Mandarin, Pi-Kwei. An immense crowd had assembled in 
the streets through which the foreigners wended their way, 
and their reception by the Tartar General was accompanied 
by all the ceremonial of Chinese etiquette : three howitzer 
salvo-shots, and ear-splitting Chinese music, the General's 
body-guard, disarmed, drawn up on the staircase, the General 
himself, wearing his Mandarin cap on his head, nodding and 
laughing more or less to the foreigners presented, according 
to their higher or lower rank. The Commodore was pro- 
vided with a raised seat. In the course of conversation, 
during which Mr. Parkes kindly acted as interpreter, tea was 
served. Pi-Kwei inquired as to the objects of the Expedi- 
tion, and asked the names of the officers, which, owing to the 
symbolic nature of Chinese writing, could not be done but 
after much difficulty. Pi-Kwei, a man of colossal proportions, 
behaved and spoke like a lamb in presence of the small 
physically insignificant - looking Mr. Parkes. Like the 
regents appointed by the Dutch Government in Java, he was 
nothing more than the agent to carry out the orders of the 

Our departure was not less ceremonious and noisy than 

our reception : a number of fire-balls were let off in front of 
VOL. II. a c 

386 Voyage of the Novara. 

the building", the noise of which gave much more the impres- 
sion of an infernal machine than a salute. The rest of the 
day the officers spent in reconnoitring various parts of the 
city, as far as circumstances admitted, and all returned in the 
evening to Hong-kong in the same gun-boat which had con- 
veyed them to Canton. 

Wliile we were lying at anchor in Hong-kong, an extra 
sheet of the " North China Herald^'''' published at Shanghai, 
brought intelligence of a treaty of peace having been signed 
at Tien-Tsin, by Lord Elgin, on the part of England, and the 
Imperial Commissioners, and that it had been dispatched to 
Pekin for the purpose of being ratified by the imperial auto- 
graph. This treaty, which contained 6Q clauses, invested 
England with far more extensive rights than she had hitherto 
possessed. Especially it was stipulated that an English 
ambassador should reside in a palace at Pekin, and be 
accorded all the honours due to his rank, and that the 
Christian religion should be professed and taught without 
any restrictions. British subjects^ provided with passes from 
their own consuls, to be countersigned by the local Chinese 
authorities, were to be permitted to traverse the empire in 
every direction on business or pleasure ; the navigation of the 
Yang-tse-Kiang, or Blue River, was also declared free ; and 
in addition to the five harbours already opened to foreign 
commerce by the treaty of Nankin, the English were now to 
be at liberty to trade with New-Chwang, Tang-Char, Tai- 
Wan (on the island of Formosa), Chau-Chow, and Kiung- 

Treaty of Tien-Tsin. — Omission of Opium Clause. 387 

Chow (in Hainan), to settle in any of these, to buy and sell 
house property, as also to erect churches and hospitals, and 
lay out cemeteries. Chinese subjects guilty of crimes or 
offences against the English, to be punished by the native 
authorities in conformity with the law of the land. English 
subjects, on the other hand, to be subject to the jurisdiction of 
the British authorities, in similar circumstances, and treated 
according to British law. All official communications on the 
part of the English authorities to be drawn up in English for 
presentation to the Chinese Grovernment, and although, for 
the present, accompanied by a translation, shall in the event of 
uncertainty be construed according to the text of the English 
original. Article L provides that the symbol ^hb ^J!' 
(Barbarian) shall be discontinued in all official documents, 
whether in the capital or the provinces, and the term '' Eng- 
lish " or "English Government" be substituted. On the 
other hand, the Treaty of Tien-Tsin is silent on the subject of 
the opium trade, the main point in dispute, the prime cause 
of the various wars hitherto broken out ! There was men- 
tion made of a revision of the tariff only. Obviously the Brit- 
ish plenipotentiaries thought they would more readily attain 
tlieii' object if they endeavoured to get this difficult question 
solved in some less conspicuous manner. The opium mer- 
chants, as well as their antagonists the London philanthropists, 
seemed equally dissatisfied that the opium matter was still 
left a '' pending question." On the whole, however, this was 
one of the most marked diplomatic peculiarities of the Treaty 

2 c 2 

388 Voijage of the Novara. 

of Tien-Tsin. Instead of rousing anew the passions of tlie 
Chinese, and, by wringing such an open and public concession 
fi'om that Government, weakening still more the hold of the 
Emperor over his own people, and, whatever their profes- 
sions of amity, rendering the authorities yet more hostile and 
rancorous against the foreigners, the wily English ambassador 
preferred quietly to include opium amongst the other articles 
of import under the revised tariff, and thus convert it into a 
common article of import. Accordingly, opium, like cotton, 
hides, and stockfish, may now be imported at a fixed duty of 
30 taels (£8 16s.) per picul of 100 catties (133^ lbs.). 

The events of which China was the scene shortly after the 
signature of the treaty, the hostilities of the troops in the 
Taku forts, the desperate resistance which was made to the 
advance of the British ambassador, when the latter, agreeably 
to the stipulations in the new treaty, was preparing to travel 
to Pekin, all combine to prove that, in their professions of 
peace and friendliness, the Chinese were not in earnest. 

Since that period an army of 20,000 Europeans has dic- 
tated a peace to 400,000,000 Asiatics, and their till then 
deemed impregnable capital; and on 24th October, 1860, 
Lord Elgin countersigned a new treaty, which, together 
with the clauses contained in the previous Treaty of Tien- 
Tsin drawn up two years before, provides for the permanent 
residence of a British ambassador in the capital of the 
Chinese Empire, as also for a war indemnity of 8,000,000 
taels (£2,333,333) ; tln-ows open the harbour of Tien-Tsin to 

Stipulations of the Treatij. — Their ultimate Effect. 389 

foreign commerce, permits Chinese subjects to emigrate, 
without any restrictions, to any part of the British colonies, 
and to take service there ; assigns to Great Britain a portion 
of the district of Kow-loang or Cow-loon on tlie mainland 
opposite Hong-kong; and, finally, ordains that the original 
treaty, and all the various additional articles, shall be pub- 
lished by placard in every part of the Empire. Never be- 
fore had the Middle Kingdom sustained such a humiliation. 
True, during the rule of the former dynasty, Tao-Kwang 
(Light of Reason), an end was put to a system that had en- 
dured for a thousand years, but conditions such as those that 
had been im2:)osed by the western nations in the treaties of 
Tien-Tsin and Pekin, were altogether unheard of in the his- 
tory of China, and afford convincing proof of its weakness and 
approaching downfal, the more so, as the late Emperor Hien- 
fung was a jealous upholder of the old Asiatic doctrines and 
state craft. Only the utmost necessity and unceasing pres- 
sure could have induced him to lower his arms before the 
barbarians of the west, and to endure that an enem}^ should 
have dictated conditions of peace in his own capital, hitherto 
inaccessible to foreign nations. English, French, and Ameri- 
can ships of war hold possession of the most imj)ortant forts 
of China. In several provinces of the interior, a rebel em- 
peror has set up his camp, while on the banks of the Amoor, 
on the north of the Empire, Russia is building fortresses, and 
acting as if she were quite at home in that region. But all 
these phenomena, however divergent the interests, may at 

390 Voyage of the Novara. 

present point to one stupendous result, — rousing the immense 
Chinese Empire from its thousand years' lethargy, and forcing 
the natives who populate it to follow in the great onward 
career of civilization, whicli in our days is rushing with 
the rapidity of a tempest through the world ! 

While the Commodore and some of his staff were pro- 
ceeding to Canton in the gun-boat, the naturalists made an 
excursion to the Portuguese settlement of Macao, about 
35 miles distant from Hong-kong, with whicli there is bi- 
weekly communication by an English steamer. Usually this 
voyage occupies from four to five hours, but the Bir Charles 
Forbes was a small slow-going tub, and as our departure was 
delayed several hours in consequence of a large shipment of 
chests of opium, for which it was hoped a better price would 
be obtained at Macao, and as we had on our way thither to 
contend with rain, squalls, and contrary winds, it was dark 
ere we reached Macao. 

We were not a little taken aback at finding several of the 
passengers armed with revolvers. However, these seemingly 
superfluous precautions against danger in a pleasure sail of a 
few hours were well founded. Not long before, it had 
happened that the European passengers to Macao had been 
assailed by the Chinese on board, and all murdered in cold 
blood ! the Chinese had stealthily watched for the moment 
when the captain and passengers were at table in the con- 
fined cabin of the little craft, took possession of the vessel, 
and murdered every European on board. The captain and 

Curious Mode of collecting Steam-boat Fares. 391 

some of the passengers sprang overboard to save their lives, 
but only one man, an Englishman, succeeded in effecting his 
escape, and giving intelligence of this terrible affair. After 
they had possessed themselves of a considerable booty, the 
pirates set the vessel on fire, and set at nought all efforts to 
bring them to punishment by escaping into the interior of 
the country. 

The arrangements for paying passage money, expenses, 
&c., are apt to strike a stranger as singular. Gold is abso- 
lutely out of use, and the current coins, such as Mexican 
dollars, and copper money, or cash, are too bulky to admit of 
their being lugged about to pay large amounts. In order to 
provide for the expenses of a pleasure party of a couple of 
days it would be necessary to take a large bag, which there 
was the further danger might disappear somewhere without 
hands. An excellent arrangement has accordingly been 
introduced, by which each passenger pays his fare and other 
expenses, by means of a check on any one of the mercantile 
houses in Macao or Hong-kong, which is filled up with the 
entire amount for collection by the controller, and is cashed 
on his return. This custom is also a remarkable example of 
mutual confidence in public life, even if it be explained by 
the fact that the majority of the passengers are well known, 
and that China has as yet only been frequented by well-off 

The passage from Hong-kong to Macao is not entirely de- 
void of interest. The course of the steamer lies at first 

392 Voyage of the Novara. 

among narrow canals, between lofty granite rocks : so soon as 
she emerges from these, the muddy distm^bed colour of the 
water indicates that she is now crossing the mouth of the 
Canton River proper. Stately ships are seen passing up or 
down, while junks and fishing boats are plying on every side. 
The majestic conical peak, 3000 feet high, of the island of 
Lantao, and the Castle Peak scarred with a deep furrow from 
top to bottom, on the mainland of the province of Quang- 
tong directly opposite, form the back-ground. The regu- 
larity of the conical shape in these peaks, which seems to 
point to their being of volcanic origin, renders it probable 
that they are either granite or joorphyritic in structure. The 
mouth of the Canton River is so wide, that the opposing 
shores only gradually become visible, the wide expanse of 
water, extending on every side till lost in the horizon, giving 
the traveller the impression that he is on the open sea. 

Already, before the houses of Macao could be very easily 
made out, we passed the merchant ships lying in the roads, 
which cannot approach within from six to eight nautical 
miles. The small thoroughly land-locked '' inner harbour,'' as 
it is called, lying on the other side of the narrow tongue of 
land on which Macao is situate, is only accessible for small 
vessels and Chinese junks, which visit it in large numbers. 

The first view of the city of Macao is not less charming 
than that of Victoria. The long ranges of houses are 
picturesquely grouped around the numerous little hills sur- 
mounted by forts, which form the greater part of the isthmus ; 

View of Macao from the Water. — Tanka-hoais. 393 

wliilc tlio beautiful Praya Grande, where palaces and im- 
posing mansions are disposed in long array close along the 
shore, in order to get the benefit of the refreshing sea-breezes, 
makes a deep and lasting impression upon the stranger. 
Churches with lofty double towers shooting into tlie air, and 
the vast dome of the Jesuit College, at once single the city 
out as Catholic, and imj^art to its external aspect a^strong co]i- 
trast with the adjoining English colony. 

Macao is a favourite resort of the foreigners settled in 
Hong-kong for change of air, which in these latitudes seems 
to be even more necessary than in Europe.' _ So long as Can- 
ton was the chief seat of the European traders, the Portuguese 
settlement was used by them as a summer residence for their 
families, whither they could themselves occasionally retire 
from the bustle of Canton, and the attendant insecurity of 
life, to spend a few days of calm enjoyment with their 
families. On account of the alarms of war of the previous 
year, most of the Canton merchants had come down to 
Hong-kong and Macao to settle, in consequence of which 
the latter town has an unusually lively appearance, while its 
trade, which had previously been in a rather languishing 
condition, has materially imj^roved. 

When the steamer makes its appearance in the roads of 
Macao, it is immediately surrounded by an innumerable 
swarm of what are called Tanka-boats, mostly propelled by 
women, who with yells and shrieks bid for the privilege of 
conveying the passengers to shore. As there is no suit- 

394 Voyage of the Novara. 

able landing-place on the eastern side of the roads, tlie 
traveller is conveyed to the shore through the lash of the 
waves in a small cockle-shaped boat, just as at Madeira or 
Madras, and equally uncomfortably ; but although the boat and 
the mode in which it is navigated are anything but calculated 
"to inspire confidence, such a thing as an accident is of rare 

The natiiralists of the Novara found an exceedingly 
friendly and hearty reception at the beautiful residence of 
the Russian Consul, M. Von Carlowitz, who shortly before 
had come from Canton to settle in Macao, with his excellent 
wife, a very beautiful lady of Altenburg in Germany, there 
to await the upshot of the war. 

Our first visit the following morning — a bright and beauti- 
ful Sabbath morning — was to the renowned Camoens Grotto, 
situated in a large well- wooded park, partly covered with 
primeval forest, the property of a Portuguese family of the 
name of Marquez. All around there reigned utter, almost 
sacred silence. Here it was that Camoens, banished from his 
native land, wrote his Lusiad. The park with its fragrant 
shady aisles, its majestic leafy domes, impervious even to the 
rays of the tropical sun, its huge piles of rock round which 
clamber the immense roots of gigantic fig-trees, its deliciously 
cool atmosphere, its soft green velvet paths, its heaps of 
ruined walls, and its death-like quietness, seems as though 
destined for the asylum of an exiled poet, who, instead of 
lamenting his destiny like common men in sullen silence, felt 

Camoens Grotto at Macao. 395 

his spirit roused amid this wonderful tropical beauty to fresh 
sublime efforts, — " Things unattempted yet in prose or 
rhyme!" In an ill-contrived niche in the substructure of 
the grotto is a bust, in terra-cotta, of the great poet, with 
the inscription, ''Louis de Camoens, born 1524, died 1579." 
On the broad marble pedestal whereon stands this bust, 
which savours but little of artistic taste, various verses from 
the Lusiad have been engraved with an iron stylus.* 
Formerly this grotto must have had a much more agreeable 
appearance, but the present proprietor tliought to beautify 
it by making an addition to it, which has resulted in its 
having almost entirely lost its original cliaracter. From one 
point within the grotto, called the observatory, and tradition- 
ally used as such by Camoens, there is a beautiful peep over 
the inner harbour, with its throng of busy human ants. 
Quite close to this singular abode for a poet, is the meeting- 
house of an evangelical Christian community, numbering 
about 200 souls, with a cemetery attaclied, which, with its 
handsome stone monuments and beautifully laid-out gardens, 
constitutes one of the most interesting places of outdoor re- 
sort in the colony. 

The most extensive and important edifice in the settlement 
of Macao, founded in 1563 by the Portuguese, on a peninsula 
of the same name, about five square miles in extent, is the 
Pagoda of Makok and its different temples, situate on the 

• In front, Canto X. v. 25; XII. vv. 79—80. On the back, Canto YI. vv. Do, 
131, and Canto VIII. v. 42. 

39^ Voyage of the Novara. 

slope of a hill between picturesque groujDS of granite rocks, 
studded with gigantic Chinese inscriptions and splendid 
clumps of trees. At the entrance of this retreat for the gods, 
is a large fantastically-adorned Buddhist temple, surrounded 
by a large number of apartments, in which reside the priests, 
and where they carry on their household duties, and prepare 
tapers and sycee-paper for the worship of their deities, and 
where are also a few private altars to divinities, whose in 
fluence and protection the Chinese ladies of doubtful reputa- 
tion do not, it seems, venture publicly to invoke. 

Steps cut in the granite rock conduct to the highest point, 
about 200 feet above sea-level, on which there is likewise a 
temple. At the time of our visit, a number of Buddhist 
priests in long yellow plaited garments were ascending to 
the summit, preceded by flute-j^laj^ers, there to perform their 
devotions. On their return they distributed among the poor 
Chinese congregated in the chief apartment of the temple, a 
large quantity of fruit and other eatables. 

While at Macao we visited one of the most respected of 
the foreigners settled there, Dr. Kane, an English pliysician, 
who has for years resided in the colony. This gentleman 
was so kind as to present us with the head of a statue from 
the renowned nine-storied or Flower Pagoda (Hwa-tah) near 
Canton, which during a visit he paid to that half-ruined 
edifice in March, 1857, he had found lying on the ground, a 
fragment from a sandstone figm-e on the seventh story, 
representing a pupil of Buddha. This Pagoda, 160 feet high, 

Macao self-supporting . — Centre of Coolie Trade. 397 

was constructed upwards of a thousand years since, which 
must accordingly be the age of the relic in question. 

The number of inhabitants at present in Macao amounts 
to about 97,000, of whom 90,000 are Chinese and 7000 Por- 
tuguese and Mestizoes. Of other foreign nations there are 
but a very few in the peninsula. The chief article of 
commerce in the colony is opium, which finds its way 
hence into the interior in large quantities. Hong-kong 
is in too close proiximity, is too favourably situated, and 
is inhabited by too energetic a race, to admit of Macao, 
especially so long as it remains in the hands of the Por- 
tuguese, recovering its former commercial importance. 
Portugal derives but little profit from her colonies, and 
it is only national pride that will not hear of this posses- 
sion, which is more a burden than a source of aid to the 
mother country, being disposed of by way of sale to eitlier 
the English or the North Americans. However, the main- 
tenance of this colony costs the Portuguese home Govern- 
ment but little, as the colonists supjDort the chief expenses 
themselves. Thus the pay of the Governor, w^ho receives 
£1260 per annum, as also tliat of the military force of about 
400 men, and of a small ship stationed in the harbour, are all 
defi'ayed by the colonists. 

Macao is at present the chief point for the shipment of 
Chinese labourers or coolies to the West Indies. There are 
above 10,000 Chinese annually whom hunger and want 
drive to sell themselves vii'tually as slaves to the traders in 

398 Voyage of the Novara. 

human flesh, to drag out a miserable existence far from home. 
They' are chiefly sent from Macao to the Havanna. We 
visited the house in which these pitiable objects are confined 
till the departure of the ship ; we saw the haggard, reckless 
look of these wretched beings, who, despite the dreadful fate 
that awaits them, hire themselves out to Portuguese and 
Spanish kidnappers. In return for a free passage to Havanna, 
they bind themselves to work for eight years after their 
arrival with whatever master is found for them at four dollars 
a month,* a rate of wage very much lower than that paid 
to the labourer of the country, or even to the manumitted slave. 
This immense difiference however does not accrue so nmch 
to the West India planter as to the speculators who are 
engaged in the importation of Chinese, for each of whom a 
large premium is paid. The voyage, which usually lasts from 
four to five months and costs about £70 a-head, is chiefly 
carried on in French, Portuguese, and — alas ! that it should 
be so — English and German ships. What sufferings the 
unhappy emigrants are exposed to during the voyage, appears 
from the fact that a number of them not unfrequently jump 
overboard, to seek a refuge from tlieir misery under the 
waves. Cases have been known in which, owing to hard fare 
and mismanagement, 38 per cent, of the emigrants have died 
on the passage If 

* Even these four dollars sustain a reduction during the first year, since the 
emigrant must for the first year pay one dollar a month to defray necessaries, partly 
provisions, partly clothes, supplied to him to the amount of 812, before his departure. 

t J. F. Crawford, Esq., British Consul-General at the Havanna, iu an official 

Horrors of Coolie Emigration. 399 

The society which takes charge of this trade in exporting 
men is known as the Colonisadora, and has its head-quarters 
in the Havanna. Each Chinese must before leaving Macao 
subscribe a contract which is for the exclusive benefit of the 
society, and by which the poor emigrants explicitly renounce 
all the advantage they might derive from certain paragraphs 
in the Spanish Emigration Act, passed in 1854, which bear 
upon the interpretation of such contracts. As it is usually 
only the very poorest, most shiftless, and most ignorant class 
that emigrates, the contract is enforced without the smallest 
scruple, and if afterwards the emigrant in the foreign country 
becomes aware of the privations and oppression he has to 
submit to in comparison with other workers, the obligations 
he has entered into are made use of to invoke the protec- 
tion of the Spanish authorities.* The fact however that 
these latter secretly favour the objections of the coloniza- 
tion society, sufficiently proves that the interests of a 
social class and the extension of the labour market in the 
island are considered by them as of far higher importance 
than the good of mankind. 

document respecting the number of Chinese imported in the course of one 3'car into 
Havanna proves that in the case of the Peruvian ship Cora, 117 out of 292 cooUes 
perished owing to bad water. In one single year (1857) 63 ships, of 43,933 tons, 
cleared from Chinese ports for the Havanna, with 23,92S Chinese labourers, of 
whom 3842, or above 16 per cent., died during the voyage. 

* We give in the Ajipendix the original text of one of these contracts, which 
the Chinese emigi'ants have to sign preparatory to their going on ship-board, to- 
gether with a translation, and shall leave the reader to judge whether those are very 
far wrong who denounce the system as but another form of slave-trade. 

400 "^ Voyage of the Novara. 

To the English Government is due the credit of having 
initiated an energetic protest against this trade in human 
beings, and of having taken such steps as tend to miti- 
gate the evil consequences which cannot but result from 
such a system of deportation. Its representative at the 
Havanna, Mr. Crawford, was the first and indeed only 
individual who ventured to make representations to the 
Spanish Government as to the little humanity shown for 
these poor Chinese emigrants, and to draw public atten- 
tion to the system.* Under a humane and well-managed 

* The cruelty and injustice with which the poor Chinese emigrants are treated, 
have repeatedly had the most appalling consequences. The " China Overland Trade 
i2e/jor(;," published at Hong-kong, under date 2'Sth February, 1861, gives the particu- 
lars of one such tragedy, which had shortly before occurred on board of one of these 
emigi'ant ships. On 22nd February, the American ship Leonidas sailed from Canton 
for the Havanna with a number of coolies on board. Near what is known as the 
Macao passage, a tremendous noise was suddenly heard in the between-decks. Two of 
the mates, on descending to inquire into the cause of the disturbance, were attacked 
with knives and severely wounded. Meanwhile some of the coolies had overpowered 
the captain and his wife, and had inflicted on them several dangerous wounds. How- 
ever, the crew ultimately succeeded in driving all the coolies into the hold, though not 
till after the 29th had been passed in constant fighting. In their desperation they 
sought to set fire to the ship, by preparing a regular pyre of combustibles, to which 
they set fire. Ere long, however, the smoke became so intolerable in the hold, that 
they themselves speedily made every effort to extinguish the fire. The ship returned 
to Canton. Out of 250 coolies, 94 were dead, of whom some were shot, some were 
drowned, some suffocated. Singular to say the French man-of-war Durance refused 
to render any assistance. Other accounts speak in the highest terms of the efforts of a 
German missionary to put a stop to this practice of kidnapping, dignified by the name 
of emigration, it having not unfi'equently happened that young Chinese were openly 
carried off to Macao, and there as openly sold. This is the more readily credible, inas- 
much as the Chinese are most desperate gamblers, and after they have lost all they 
possess, think nothing of staking their personal liberty. Thus, a short time since, 
the son of respectable parents in Sunon was sold by the Emigration Society at Macao 
fur 40 dols., and it was only by the most unremitting efforts of the German missionary 

Environs of Macao. 401 

administration of the emigration system in China, it might 
prove of immense service to those countries which are eager 
to absorb labour, as, owing to the super-abundance of labour 
in China, a far larger supply as well as a much higher class of 
labourers might be procured. 

M. de Carlowitz was so kind as to accompany us in our 
various rambles to the more interesting sights and points of 
A^ew, and more especially when we were busied '^ doing" 
the ^'lines'' of the city. On an eminence in the suburbs, 
about 200 feet high, is what is known as Monte fort, garrisoned 
by 150 men, whence there is a charming panorama, and the 
eye catches sight of the Chinese village of Whang-hia, at the 
period of our visit most hostilely disposed, and where on 
July 3rd, 1844, the first treaty of peace, friendship, and com- 
merce, was drawn up and signed between China and the 
United States. Another hill, about 300 feet high, at the outer 
extremity of the peninsula, on which many years ago the 
Portuguese had erected a fort, of which only the foundations 
can now be traced, commands the tongue of land on which 
stands the city, as well as all the eastern portion of the island, 
and amply repays the trouble of ascent. On the road thither, 
by which the communication with the mainland of China is 
mainly carried on, we came upon the corpse of a coolie, which 
had apparently lain for several days in the very middle of the 

already mentioned that the wretched lad was re-purchased for £60, and thus escaped 
a terrible destiny. Two other Chinese were shipped at the same time, the bargain in 
their case being recognized, 


402 Voyage of the Novara. 

road. A part of tlie head and tlie right hand had been 
already stripped of the flesh by the carrion-crows, and enor- 
mous swarms of insects had fastened on the upper portions of 
the naked horribly swollen dead body. The miserable being 
had obviously fallen a victim to want and destitution. His 
strength seemed to have failed him while he was earning his 
miserable subsistence, as two empty broken panniers were 
lying close beside him. Crowds of people were passing daily, 
men, women, childi'en, even Portuguese taking their custom- 
ary promenade on foot or on horseback, without any person 
giving himself the least trouble to remove the shocking 
spectacle. Even the representations of the foreign consuls 
seem to have but little influence on the Portuguese authorities 
in these matters, and it appears that it is by no means an in- 
frequent occurrence to see dead bodies lying about. A hardly 
less sickening spectacle was presented on the slope of the hill, 
where were erected a couple of dozen of small, wretched, filthy 
huts of palm-straw, which served for the reception of a num- 
ber of sick and lepers, who, shunned and abandoned by all 
the world, were sinking in their misery into the grave. Le- 
prosy is regarded by the Chinese as a punishment for se- 
cret sins, and those visited with it are accordingly deprived 
of all assistance or attention. Very probably this coolie, 
whose body we thus saw lying on the road, was one of those 
unfortunates who were here digging, as it were, their own 

The isthmus which unites the PortuG:uese settlement on the 

Assassination of Governor Amaral in 1848. 403 

peninsula with the mainland, is barely a quarter of a mile in 
length by 500 feet in breadth. Formerly there was a wall 
built right across the centre of this tongue of land, which 
marked the limit of the colony. Here Chinese sentinels used 
to march to and fro to protect the Flowery Kingdom. This, 
however, did not prevent the " Macaoistas^'' as the inhabitants 
of Macao are accustomed to call themselves, from making fre- 
quent excursions and pic-nic parties to the mainland and the 
adjacent Chinese villages. On 22nd August, 1848, however, 
when the then governor of Macao, Dom Joao Maria Ferreira 
do Amaral, while riding along the narrow part of the isthmus, 
was set upon by a couple of armed Chinese, torn from his 
horse, and beheaded, his skull and hand being carried off by 
the murderers, the Portuguese pulled down the wall and de- 
stroyed the adjoining Chinese fort, so that not a vestige of 
either now remains. The government of Macao insisted on 
the murderers being delivered up, as also on the restitution of 
the head and hand of the victim, but after the lapse of a year 
the authorities received an official notification that the mur- 
derers had been discovered, and on confession of the crime 
had been executed at Shunteh. The head and hand of the 
unhappy Amaral were delivered to the Portuguese officials by 
two Chinese commissioners, and solemnly interred with the 
other remains. In the course of the corresj^ondence with re- 
ference to this matter * between the Chinese and Portuguese 
authorities, it appeared that, owing to certain stringent regu- 

• See "Chinese Repository," vol. x., of October, 1849. 

2 D 2 

404 Voyage of the Novara. 

lations he had laid down, Governor Amaral had long been 
marked out for destruction by the Chinese population of Macao. 
The chief complaint against him was that he had profaned 
the graves of their ancestors in the suburbs of Macao, and 
had constructed new streets right through them. Every at- 
tack of illness, every unlucky speculation, every unexpected 
mischance, which happened to any of the Chinese residents in 
Macao, was ascribed to the vengeance of those spirits, whose 
repose had been so wantonly violated for such an insignificant 
purpose. The Chinese have no regular cemeteries for their 
dead. They inter them anywhere about the township, sim- 
ply marking the spot with a stone or an inscription. At the 
new-year's festival these graves are adorned in the most 
gaudy manner, none, not even of the poorest, being neglected 
in this respect. This pious feeling for the dead is in singular 
and rude contrast with the indifference with which the Chinese 
regard the misfortunes of their neighbours, and the cruelty 
with which mothers expose their new-born children, or even 
leave them to die. 

The trade between Macao and the mainland is very 
active : in the quarter of an hour that we were upon the isth- 
mus there passed at least 60 men loaded with goods or provi- 
sions, moving to and fro to the settlement. Among these there 
were also sedan-chairmen, conveying back to the neighbour- 
ing villages such of the better class of Chinese as had been 
doing business in the city. The effect of warlike rumours 
from Canton and the Pei-ho had meanwhile become apparent 

Evening in the Praya Grande. 405 

among the Eiu'opean population of Macao. The Insecurity of 
life and property increased daily. No one could venture to 
go a mile or two beyond the city. Even a beautiful pic-nic 
house, erected by the foreigners on '' Green Island," close by 
the town, whither during peaceful times frequent excursions 
were made by European residents with their families, had 
been for months empty and gutted. 

The Praya Grande, or rather the shady promenade, at its 
eastern extremity serves as a rendezvous for the gay world, 
and on Sundays, when a band of music plays here, one can 
scarcely pass through the crowd. 

The Portuguese, who] even in their native country are not 
a handsome race, lose still more in their physical qualities by 
the unscrupulous manner in which they cross with the native 
races. This circumstance makes the contrast still more 
apparent of simple, graceful, pale ladies of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, who now and then appear between the ugly dark 
natives. In the evening, towards sunset, these lovely crea- 
tures make their appearance in their sedan or other chairs 
in the Campo San Francisco, there to enjoy the cool even- 
ing sea-breezes. A great number of sedan porters halt here 
with their precious burdens, and elegantly-attired cavaliers 
saunter about, striving by amiable phrases and flattering 
remarks to elicit a smile. AYliile these vehicles form the 
commonest mode of conveyance, we also saw there but few 
saddle-horses, and only one single carriage, the property of 
a rich brownish native, baronized for the amount of 40,000 

4o6 Voyage of the Novara. 

dollars, and who thought by this means to display his taste, 
his luxury, and his nobility ! 

We had heard so much of certain wonderful singing stones, 
on a large island opposite the inner part of the harbour, that 
several of our party made an excursion thither. Neither 
natives nor indeed Europeans could give us any explanation 
of this singula!' phenomenon, but all hold that the stones 
must contain metal in some certain proportion, while elec- 
tricity and magnetism would do the rest. The naturalists 
were accompanied to this mysterious spot by M. Von Car- 
lowitz, Dr. Kane, and a Chinese physician, Dr. Wong-fun. 
The estimable and highly-educated Wong-fun had graduated 
,as Doctor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh, and 
had afterwards enlarged his experience by practising some 
time in the United States, since which he had practised the 
healing art with great success upon his own countrjonen. 
A European in intelligence and education, he was still a 
Chinese in external appearance, and wore, as formerly, a long 
tail. Probably Wong-fun adhered to this ancient custom 
in order the more readily to indoctrinate his fellow-country- 
men with European ideas. 

Some small Tanka boats, in which, as already mentioned, 
only two persons can be accommodated at once, and which 
are exclusively managed by women, conveyed our party 
over the bosom of the inner harbour to the opposite shore. 
We then proceeded through a beautiful valley, covered with 
rice fields, and traversed in its entu^e extent by a mountain 

The ^y Singing Stones'" near Macao. 407 

torrent, wlilcli is dammed off, and drives a number of Cliinese 
mills with tlie small water-courses. In the background of 
this valley lies the mysterious spot. The marvel itself 
presently became visible in a large expanse of syenite rock, 
greatly resembling that in the Oderwald of Hesse. Some of 
these have been tilted on the others, and the hard syenite 
resounds when struck with a hammer, just as a block of 
marble or basalt vibrates when struck, with a bell-like sound. 
These musical blocks therefore ai'e but little interesting, 
unless that the Cliinese make use of them to sculpture the 
figures of lions and tigers to adorn the entrances of their 

After a stay of two days in Macao, the naturalists returned 
to Hong-kong, where they had to devote the little time that 
would elapse ere the frigate sailed to sorting and packing 
the collections, and arranging for their transmission : for 
the manipulation of packing is, as Humboldt well remarked, 
as important as actual science in such undertakings. That 
naturalist confers but a small boon on science, whose only 
care is to collect, but who takes no pains to preserve, the fruits 
of his labour, by an exact indication of the place where found, 
and such special particulars as may prevent mistakes, and 
by carefully guarding against damage to the objects about 
to be sent, while on their way. 

The kind reception and hospitality of our new friends 
in Hong-kong remained undiminished to the very last moment 
of our stay. We were faii^ly overwhelmed with attentions of 

40 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

all sorts, each apparently striving to make us forget the 
unfavourable circumstances under which we visited the 
Empire of China. 

The steamer Hong -hong ^ early on the morning of 18th 
July, towed us out through the narrow Eastern Straits, the 
Ly-e-num Pass, and the Ta-thong-wun Channel, into the open 
sea. As we passed along-side the English frigate Nankm^ 
carrying the broad pendant of the amiable and excellent 
Commodore Stewart, our band played '' God save the Queen," 
while the English ensign was dipped, by way of parting 
salute. A little further on the Chinese Comprador, who had 
supplied the Novara with provisions daily during her stay, 
had stationed himself in his boat to give us a parting fare- 
well with a roar of gong-gong, while innumerable rockets 
whizzed and exploded in the air. 

We found a tolerably high sea outside, but a fine fresh 
S.W. breeze, under which we rapidly increased our distance 
from the shore. In like manner as when we entered, we had 
now in getting out to thread our way among thousands of 
fishing-boats sailing about in couples, which cruise about to 
a distance of even 50 and 60 miles to sea. The steamer 
which towed us through the narrow Eastern Channel, and 
had us just four hours and twenty minutes in tow, charged 
the amount of 300 dollars (£63), so that each minute of tow- 
ing cost rather over one dollar. After making a tack towards 
Lemma Island, in order to avoid the dangerous Nine- pin 
rock, the wind sprung up from E.S.E., so that we were 

Mouth of the Yang-tse-Kiang. 409 

enabled to He our proper course, and by sun-down had cleared 
Piedra bianca. 

With fine weather and a fresh S. W. monsoon our voyage 
was so speedy, that by 2nd July we were in the latitude of 
Fonnosa, but without being able to distinguish the high land, 
either on the Chinese coast or on that island, and by 23rd 
July we were off the Saddle Islands, at the mouth of the 

Just as we reached this, the door, as it were, through which 
we had to enter, the weather chose to change with the utmost 
suddenness. Calms and contrary winds, coupled with the 
powerful current of the mighty river, sweeping through the 
islands, prevented our further advance, and on the 24tli we 
had to cast anchor near the easternmost Saddle Island. Close 
to us on every side were numbers of other ships equally un- 
fortunate with ourselves, while the spectacle of the steamers, 
pui'suing their course without feeling any obstruction, filled 
us with Qiwj. We had taken a Chinese pilot on board, and 
by 25th July were in sight of Gutzlaff, a small islet of rock 
210 feet high, the best land-mark of the " Son of Ocean," 
and just before sunset anchored off the outer bar. We now 
had fair breezes, and without further obstacles passed over 
the bar in from 30 to 33 feet water, which in bad weather, 
however, is exceedingly dangerous. We were still out of 
sight of land ; even the islands we had already passed sank 
below the horizon, and still there was nothing visible but an 
unbroken expanse of yellowish red water, which reflected 

41 o Voyage of the Novara. 

with the utmost brilHancy the rays of the sun. A light- 
ship moored to a sand-bank, and a wreck on another sand- 
bank, are, after leaving Gutzlaff Island, the sole land-marks 
by which the pilot can hope to keep the channel, which is only 
from one to two miles wide in this vast shoreless river estuary. 
Indeed the entrance of the Yang-tse-Kiang is regarded as 
one of the most difficult feats for a large ship. With favour- 
able wind and weather, the Novara cleared without accident 
the 47 miles between the bar and the place where the 
Wusung falls into the Yang-tse-Kiang, and on the evening 
of the 26th July dropped anchor in front of Wusung. The 
navigation presented little that was interesting, yet each man 
involuntarily felt a thrill as he reflected that he was sailing 
in the current of the longest river in China, whose source 
lies thousands of miles inland at Khukkunor, among the 

As we neared Wusung, signs of life began to be visible 
on the river itself; tall three-masters were passing, bound in 
or out, and scores of Chinese junks with their peculiar rig 
and build. Far above the light-ship the shore first became 
visible, low, flat, scarcely above the level of the river, but 
green and fertile. A Pagoda of the well-known form of the 
Porcelain tower of Nankin and a few lofty trees enable the 
pilot to take the bearings of the channel at this point. Only 
the land on the left is actual mainland, the shore on the 
right being the coast of the island of Tsuning, lying at the 
mouth of the river. At the mouth of the Wusung, this southern 

Junction of the Wusung and Yang-tse-Kiang. 411 

arm of the Yang-tse-Kiang, as formed by tlie above-named 
island, is about six and a half nautical miles in width, and a 
little higher up is further narrowed by Bush Island to a width 
of four miles. 

The first inhabited spot at the junction of the Wusung 
and Yang-tse-Kiang is the wretched filthy village of Wu- 
sung, which ow^es its importance solely and exclusively to 
the opium boats, which the merchants of Hong-kong and 
Shanghai used to station here in the stream, in order more 
readily to sell and deliver to the Chinese that forbidden 
article. Thus the natives took on themselves the responsi- 
bility of opium] smuggling, while the foreign merchants be- 
came thereby involved in a conflict with the Chinese Govern- 
ment. The opium sold per month from the ships stationed 
at Wusung amounts to from 2500 to 2800 chests, in value 
about 500 taels (£150) per chest (£375,000 to £420,000). 

The mouth of the Wusung is the entrance to Shanghai, 
which lies about 12 miles up the Wusung or Shanghai river, 
but in consequence of a mud-bank is only accessible to large 
sliij^s at spring- tide. Nankin lies up the Yang-tse-Kiang 180 
miles from Shanghai, the channel being so deep that even a 
frigate may sail close up under its walls. Six hundred miles 
distant from the embouchure of the Wusung lie the three 
immense cities of Wu-chang, Hang-iang, and Shan-Keu, con- 
taining 8,000,000 inhabitants, the central point of the in- 
ternal commerce of China ; and about 400 miles further up 
are the first rapids of the Yang-tse-Kiang, which completely 

412 Voyage of the Novara. 

prevent all further navigation. Up to this point the mighty 
river, like the Mississippi, the Rhine, or the Danube, may be 
navigated by river steamers, without the slightest danger or 
difficulty. What an enormous trade, what a tremendous de- 
velopment, will ere long be witnessed here, so soon as, in 
accordance with the stipulations of the Tien-Tsin and Pekin 
treaties, English ships, freighted with goods and necessaries 
of all sorts, shall steam up this most splendid of rivers and 
its tributaries, and the inhabitants of the far interior shall 
become acquainted with the products of European industry, 
and in exchange shall export to Europe innumerable articles 
of new and valuable trade. For it is the greatest service of 
the merchant that he not alone opens new channels of com- 
merce, and by increased exportation of the fabrics of his 
native land tends to build up his power, but that he civilizes 
foreign nations, and enriches science and industry with in- 
numerable fresh acquisitions. 

The larger ships usually lie at anchor at the little Chinese 
village of Wusung on the river of that name, just where it 
falls into the Yang-tse-Kiang, and here accordingly, owing to 
the hostilities, we found upwards of twenty ships of war of 
various nationalities at anchor. Among others the powerful 
American steam ship Minnesota^ and the French frigates Auda- 
cieuse and Nemesis, an imposing spectacle in these distant re- 
gions, and to which the half-ruined Chinese fort on the tongue 
of land between the Wusung and the Yang-tse-Kiang, with its 
couple of wretched cannon, presented a tragi-comic contrast. 

Appearance of Shanghai Harlour. 413 

Numbers of Chinese boats, from tlie smallest cloth-awning 
sampan -^ro^^Xedihj one man with a paddle to the large jmik 
with fifteen masts, and sentences painted along the bends, 
were cruising in every direction. Ere long a Comprador found 
his way on board, who according to custom undertook to 
provide the frigate with everything she required. 

Commodore Wiillerstorff purposed proceeding with the 
frigate to Shanghai ; but as it would be necessary to wait 
for a fair wind, or else to engage another steam-tug, implying 
a delay of several days, the naturalists were permitted to avail 
themselves of the opportunity offered by the Comprador's boat 
to proceed at once to Shanghai, which voyage we were two 
hours and a half in performing. 

Wliile the number of European merchantmen that we 
passed, some lying at anchor in front of Wusung, others sail- 
ing up or down stream, was quite surprising, yet the sight 
of the river at Shanghai far surpassed all expectation. Here, 
close packed together in a channel rather narrower than else- 
where, was drawn up tier after tier of shipping, a quite 
impervious forest of masts, athwart which at intervals 
the large warehouses of the European merchants indistinctly 
loomed, lining the banks on either side. The newspaper lists 
at the time of our visit gave the names of no less than 102 
large American and European merchantmen in the Shanghai 
River, in addition to which there were upwards of a thousand 
native junks lying in the stream with their short crooked 
masts, the most convincing evidence of the commercial im- 

414 Voyage of the Novara. 

portance which this place has attained within the short space 
of time that has elapsed since by the Treaty of Nankin in 
1842 foreign factories were authorized to be erected here. 

On the shore the flags of the Consulates of the more im- 
portant seafaring nations fluttered gaily in the breeze from 
lofty flag-staffs on the top of the imposing buildings. Hardly 
had we landed ere we were surrounded by an ungainly 
crowd of Chinese coolies, who with their bamboo staves 
began such a serious battle among themselves for the right 
of carrying our baggage, that it was only by the interposition 
of the police that several were not left on the spot severely 

The intelligence that there was in Shanghai not a single 
house of entertainment, such as we understand by the name 
of '' hotel " in Europe, was the less agreeable, as the dwellings 
of the resident Europeans, where, under ordinary circum- 
stances, strangers are received with the utmost hospitality, 
happened at present to be occupied by the oflicers of the nu- 
merous war-ships, as well as by members of the two embassies. 
The only place where we could be received was what^ is 
known as the Union Hotel, a den in the fullest sense of the 
word, in which we passed one of the most uncomfortable 
nights we ever remember. Myriads of mosquitoes, the true 
blood-thirsty '' gallinipper," loud-shouting drunken seamen, 
dogs howling, intolerable heat, which not even a tremendous 
thunder-storm that broke forth during the night could as- 
suage, — such were some of the amenities of our reception) 

An Hotel at Shanghai. — Arrival of the Novara. 415 

which, despite our exhaustion, utterly precluded sleep. With 
unspeakable longing we watched for the dawn of the morn- 
ing, and, thanks to the hosj^itality of our new friends, we were 
in the course of the day fortunate enough to be released from 
this hideous abode. 

The Novara did not remain long behind us. A few days 
later, on 29th July, she sailed gallantly up in an hour and a 
half, from Wusung, on the top of a spring-tide, and with 
favourable breezes, and on reaching Shanghai was welcomed 
with pride and delight by the German residents here — the 
first ship-of-war of a first-class German power that had ever 
been seen in the river Wusung. 


Duration of Stat fkom 25th July to 11th August, 1858. 

A stroll through the old Chinese quarter. — Book-stalls. — Public Baths. — Chinese 
Pawnbrokers. — Foundling hospital. — The Hall of Universal Benevolence. — 
Sacrificial Hall of Medical Faculty. — City prison. — Temple of the Goddess of the 
Sea. — Chinese taverns. — Tea garden. — Temple of Buddha. — Temple of Confucius. 
— Taouist convent. — Chinese nuns. — An apothecary's store, and what is sold 
therein. — Public schools. — Christian places of worship. — Native industry.— Ceno- 
taphs to the memory of beneficent females. — A Chinese patrician family. — The 
villas of the foreign merchants. — Activity of the London Missionarj^ Society. — Dr. 
Hobson. — Chinese medical works. — Leprosy. — The American Missionary So- 
ciety. — Dr. Bridgman. — Main tze tribe. — Mission schools for Chinese boys and 
girls. — The North-China branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. — Meeting in honour 
of the Members of the Novara Expedition. — Mons. de Montigny. — Baron Gros. 
— Interview with the Tau-Tai, or chief Chinese official of the city. — The Jesuit 
mission at Sikkawei. — The Pagoda of Long-Sah. — A Chinese dinner. — Serenade 
by the German singing-club. — The Germans in China. — Influence of the Treaties 
of Tien-Tsin and Pekin upon commerce. — Silk. — Tea. — The Chinese sugar- 
cane. — Various species of Bamboos employed in the manufacture of paper. — The 
varnish-tree. — The tallow-tree. — The wax-tree. — Mosquito tobacco. — Articles of 
import. — Opium. — The Tai-ping rebels. — Departure from Shanghai. — A typhoon 
in the China sea. — Sight the island of Puynipet in the Caroline Archipelago. 

Shanghai, or Shanghai - Hein (the city near the sea), is 
divided into the Chinese city proper, enclosed within walls 

Narrowness of tJie Streets in Shanghai. 417 

twenty-four feet in height, and the foreign-quarter, which 
has been laid out beyond tlie walls since the year 1843, and 
is as much distinguislied by elegance as by comfort. Old 
Shanghai, only accessible by three of the six gates with 
which it is furnished, contains 250,000 inhabitants in a 
superficial area of nine Li, or about two and one-third Eng- 
lish miles, and, including the pojDulation of neighbouring 
towns, who are constantly flocking to and fro, about 400,000. 
The streets are filthy and singularly narrow, so much so that 
occasionally it is difficult for two men to pass each other, 
the small cross streets vividly recalling Venice, or the 
"lanes" of London. It is with difficulty, and only by a 
constant succession of cries and hearty buffets, that the 
bearers of merchandise can force their way through these 
intricate passages, and find their way to their destination. 
The houses, for the most part one and two storeys in height, 
usually consist of shops on the ground-floor, each with a 
flaming superscription in gigantic characters, which, the 
better to arrest the curiosity of the passers-by, is generally 
hung diagonally across the narrow street. The living throng, 
which throughout tlie entire day surges to and fro here, is so 
immense and so various that it leaves upon a stranger an im- 
pression even deeper than that made by the crowds and 
bustle of Piccadilly or Regent Street, on a fine day in the 
height of " the season." The grotesqueness and filth of 
almost everything that meets the eye rather adds to tlie 
singularity of tlie spectacle, and while the \dsitor on the one 

VOL. II. 2 E 

41 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

hand speedily finds ample justification for extricating himself 
from the din and confusion, he nevertheless encounters at 
every step some new object of attraction and absorbing 

Entering the city tln^ough the east gate, on whose walls, 
by way of example to the multitude, are suspended in sacks 
and wickerwork numerous skulls of rebels and murderers, on 
whom justice has been done, we find ourselves in China 
street, one of the principal streets of Shanghai, and in which 
are most of the best class of native shops. It is however no 
wider or cleaner than the other streets of the city, and might 
be termed a '^ lane " with far more propriety than a street. 
We were conveyed within the lofty, gloomy "enceinte" of 
the walls in the sedan-chair of the country, after which, under 
the guidance of Mr. Muirhead, an English missionary, who in 
the kindest manner had offered to be our cicerone^ we pro- 
ceeded to stroll through the town. 

Close to the east gate we entered a book-stall, in which 
were heaped uj) immense piles of stitched books. A number 
of Chinese in white nankeen jackets, their foreheads smooth 
shaved, and each with a " tail " behind dependent to the 
heels, started forward to inquire the strangers' wants, and 
minister to them. Our inquiries however were by no means 
merely dictated by the desire to gratify a silly curiosity. A 
learned countryman, Dr. Pfizmaier, one of the profoundest of 
Chinese scholars, had intrusted us with a list of fourteen rare 
Chinese books, the purchase of which seemed to us specially 

Prolixity of Chinese Literature. 4.19 

desirable, and we accordingly made every exertion, with the 
assistance of our companion, himself well acquainted with 
Chinese, to crown our search with success. With one excep- 
tion we succeeded in pui'chasing the entire catalogue, and 
therewitli gladly brought to an end our wearisome stay of 
upwards of an hour in the close steaming book-shop, exposed 
the while to a more than tropical temperature. 

Chinese authors are, it must be allowed, terribly prolix in 
the treatment of their subjects, and instances are by no 
means uncommon in China of works, especially those of an 
historical nature, extending to from forty to fifty volumes ! 
Thus, for example, the '' Seventeen Historical classics " con- 
sists of 337 parts : — '' Mingschiutschuen " (History of the 
most renowned ministers and statesmen), of thirty volumes : — 
'' Singpu " (Lives of remarkable persons), of 122 parts : — 
the " Encyclopedia of Matuanlin," with its additions, even 
reaches the immense number of six hundred volumes ! ! * 
Books are generally far from expensive in China; for a 
few dollars, comparatively, one may, owing to the cheapness 
of labour and of cost of production, purchase quite a large 
supply of ordinary literature. 

Adjoining this book-shoj) is a public bath establishment, 
where for 16 copper cashf (rather less than \d. sterling), one 

* Compare GutzlaflTs " History of the Chinese Empire," pubUshed by K. Neu- 
mann ; Stuttgart and Tiibingen, 1847. 

t The copper cash is the sole currency in use, and consists of a mixture of copper, 
iron, and tin. Its value, reckoned by the string of 100, is variable, and is calculated 
according to the proportional traffic in foreign merchandise. On the average, fi"on. 
1230 — 1300 cash are about ctiual to ijrl'OO American, or 4s. 2'7, English. . 

2 £ 2 

42-0 Voyage of the Novara. 

may get a vapour bath, while six cash more are paid for 
keeping custody of the habiliments. The bath is far from 
being elegant or comfortable, but when one reflects on such 
extraordinary cheapness, it seems as though the very utmost 
had been attained. It consists of a large apartment, filled 
with steam, which is from time to time renewed, by dashing- 
hot water upon stones, maintained at a high temperature, while 
ranged in readiness all round are a number of tubs of cold 
water for cooling the bather. In one of these establishments 
about thirty persons may bathe at once, and as John China- 
man, despite his filthy manners, is passably clean about the 
body, as testified by the pains he is at with his head and 
hands, these places are as extensively patronized as they are 
greatly needed. 

Our next stoppage was at a pawnbroker's, an institution 
which, to all appearance, has been far longer in vogue in 
China than in Europe, and is made great use of by the 
wealthy as well as the poorer classes. In the Celestial King- 
dom, the same custom prevails as with us of pawning the 
winter habiliments in summer, and summer apparel in 
winter ; and this not so much for the sake of the money 
borrowed upon them, as to have them kept in safety and 
carefully preserved, especially in the case of costly furs. In 
China the usual advance is of one half the value, upon a very 
low computation of the article pledged, for which the monthly 
charge is ten cash per 500, or twenty-four per cent, per annum. 
Whatever has not been redeemed at the end of three years. 

Pawnhroking Regulations. — Abundance of Charities. 421 

or of which the interest has not been paid, is put up to 
auction and knocked down to the highest bidder, the proceeds 
going to the benefit of the establishment. The utmost per 
centage allowed by law is three per cent, a month; but it 
must not exceed two per cent, in winter, in order that the 
poor may be enabled to redeem the articles pledged. The 
broker gives a ticket for the articles pledged, which have a 
definite value, and may be sold in the street. Thieves find 
these establishments very handy for disposing of their 
plunder, as they deface or destroy the pawn-ticket so as to 
prevent the rightful owner fi:om regaining possession of the 
stolen articles. When a pawnbroker sustains any loss 
through theft, or the outbreak of fire on his premises, he 
must make good to his customers the value of the destroyed 
articles that had been left with him as pledges. If, however, 
the fire has broken out in the house of a neighbour, he is 
only bound to pay one half of the loss he may sustain. The 
establishment is managed by fifty individuals, whom the 
concourse of people flocking in to pledge or redeem property 
keeps in constant activity. 

Considering the notorious and openly avowed indifference 
everywhere manifested throughout China for the poor, the 
sick, and the unfortunate, the number of charitable institu- 
tions to be found in all parts of China is very surprising, all 
which, as has lately been proved, do not owe their origin to 
the introduction of Christianity, but had been in a flourish- 
ing condition for a long time previously. Thus in several of 

422 Voyage of the Novara. 

the streets of Shanghai, we came upon hospitals for children 
and foundlinojs /=ici P,^ '^ \ of the latter of which the one 
we visited was founded by voluntary contribution so far back 
as 1710. This humane institution has a landed property of 
about 30 acres, by the produce of which, as well as frequent 
public collections, it is supported. In 1783, this orj)han 
hospital was amalgamated with an asylum for old and de- 
crepit persons, and others incapacitated for labour, and one 
wealthy Chinese gentleman provided 3000 taels* for this 
praiseworthy object, but somewhat later this joint plan was 
abandoned, and the Orphan Asylum remains to this day 
self-supporting, while the poor, the sick, and the aged are 
relieved every month at the Custom-house out of funds 
specially set apart. 

. At the period of our visit we found thirty infants in the 
building, who had been deposited by their mothers in a 

* In Shanghai the medium of exchange in common use is not as at Hong-kong 
reckoned in dollars, but in taels, an imaginary currency of the value of about 
$133, so that 100 taels=$i33^, or about £27 15s. Most accounts are rendered in 
taels, whence they are reduced into Mexican dollars, the only foreign silver that is 
current. When European merchants first came in contact with the children of the 
Flowery Land, the latter used to pay a sort of premium for American dollars, while 
for those bearing the effigies of Charles III. (known as the Karolus dollar), quite a 
special price was paid. Gradually, however, the value sank tiU, as already mentioned, 
75 taels=$100. What has so often been reported of a special Shanghai dollar coin- 
age is quite erroneous. There are neither gold nor silver coins struck in China, but 
solely of copper, and in some provinces of iron. The term Shanghai dollar is 
equivalent to tael, which, as already remarked, is, like the guinea in England, unknown 
to commerce. 1 tael=5s. 7d. English, but in trade it is taken as 6s. It occasionally 
rises as high as 6s. 6d, when the proportion between the dollar and the tael is as 
100 to 72. 

The Foundling Hospital of Shanghai. 423 

basket suspended in a recess at the entrance. After the new- 
born child has been deposited, a signal is given with a bam- 
boo stick, after which the receptacle is turned inwards and 
the innocent without delay taken charge of. Each child has 
its own wet-nurse or attendant. 

The building is lofty, roomy, and passably clean, but the 
children, one and all without exception, have a sickly ap- 
pearance, and seem to suffer much from eruptions and affec- 
tions of the eye. There was not one child above two years of 
age. It is worth recording that every one of these children 
was of the female sex ; their male offspring, even when ille- 
gitimate, the mothers seem much less disposed to part from. 
It frequently happens, moreover, owing to the low considera- 
tions in which the female sex are held, that even legitimate 
children of that sex are occasionally committed to the silent 
receptacle of the foundling's basket. 

We inquired of one of the overseers what was the destiny 
of these unhappy children when they grew up, but could get 
no satisfactory reply. We were informed that they were 
occasionally adopted as children by those who had no family. 
But more extended inquiries leave us rather inclined to be- 
lieve that these poor waifs of humanity constitute a not in- 
considerable contingent to that unhappy class of beings who, 
carefully brought up, clothed, and fed by speculative foster- 
mothers, are at a suitable age sold for concubines to the 
well-to-do Chinese. 

One very remarkable charitable institution, for which there 

424 Voyage of the Novara. 

is no parallel in Europe, is the Tung-jin-tang Cfpl-^:'^^ 
or Hall of United Benevolence, founded by a number of 
philanthropists in 1804, for the interment of the poor. This 
establishment, through its legacies, donations, and voluntary 
contributions, speedily became so wealthy that it has been 
enabled to take up, in addition to its original business, other 
objects of a not less humane nature. It pensions poor 
widows of respectable families with 700 cash (about £1 85.) 
per month; it presents persons above 60 years of age, if 
sickly and unable to work, with 600 cash (about £1 4^.) a 
month, and provides, free of charge, wooden coffins, as also 
digging implements, for those who are too poor to inter their 
dead relatives. Another humane occupation of the society is 
the interment of coffins containing dead bodies, which used to 
be exposed on the bare ground in various parts of the city. 
Finally, it was the intention of the founder of this charitable 
institution, so soon as the money should permit, to erect 
schools for the poor, to provide warm clothing in winter for 
the helpless, as also to buy up animals destined for the 
slaughter-house, and set them at liberty again. 

The proceedings connected with the direction of the insti- 
tution are transacted in public, and the managers for tlie 
time being are bound to furnish for each year a detailed 
report* of the management. This humane institution has 

* An English translation of one of these reports will be found in the 1S45 number 
of Morrison's admirably edited, but now rather rarely met with, monthly periodical, 
" The Chinese Repository." 

Objects of the Hall of United Benevolence. 425 

since its foundation undergone many reforms, and at the 
period of our visit was confining its sphere of usefulness to 
three main objects : 1st, The pensioning aged and broken- 
down 23ersons of both sexes, with 600 cash a month. These 
however were not supplied with the money, but were for 
the most part taken into the house itself, or at least supported 
through it. 2nd, The dispensing free of charge of various so- 
called universal medicines, for headache, stomach-complaints, 
fever, diarrhoea, spasms during the unhealthy season (June 
to October). On the 3rd, 8th, 13th, 18th, 23rd, and 28th of 
each month (that is, on every date ending w^ith a 3 or an 8), 
during tlie continuance of the sultry, damp, unhealthy season 
there was also provided for the sick and poor, gratis, advice 
from Chinese physicians in the great hall. 3rd, The furnishing 
coffins for the Interment of those who died without means, 
or on payment in part by families not altogether penniless. 
In one of these extensive magazines we saw a coffin bearing 
the number 1084, which was just coming Into requisition. 
During 36 months 1000 coffins and upwards had been sup- 
plied to poor families for the interment of their dead ! As 
we were leaving the building, we remarked in the principal 
apartment a large quantity of paper, partly written upon, 
partly in shreds, all heaped up. On inquiry as to the ob- 
ject of this collection, we were informed that it was for no 
industrial pm-pose, but solely to be ascribed to the profound 
respect the Chinese have for every sort of ^vrltlng. They 
regard written leaves as positively holy, and are particularly 

426 Voyage of the Novara. 

careful that no written paper shall chance to fall into impro- 
per hands, that might make a wrong use of it. For this 
reason the society pays for every pound of old waste paper 
which the poor of Shanghai pick up in the street and bring 
to the Institution three copper cash, and when the pile has 
attained a sufficient height it is set on fire at a particular 

Built in close proximity to this '' Hall of United Benevo- 
lence " is the sanctuary of the medical profession, or, as Mr. 
Muirhead translated for our benefit the gigantic Chinese in- 
scription over the portal, "the sacrificial hall of the medical 
faculty." This is a temple erected at the expense of the 
nation to a celebrated Chinese physician, whose stature, in 
an easy, erect attitude, cut in wood the size of life and richly 
gilt, is erected upon a platform somewhat resembling an altar. 
Part of the drapery consists of gigantic leaves, while his fold- 
ed hands clasp a lotos-flower. In front of the image is placed 
the inscription : '' The shrine of the spirit of \hQ King of 
Medicine." Above the idol are the following words in 
Chinese, cut in the stone and gilt, " The divine husband- 
man and sacred ruler ! " and thereafter, " For all ages the in- 
structive teacher." 

This renowned physician had, it seems, instituted many 
experiments on himself with new healing remedies, and ac- 
cording to popular belief had attained to an exact knowledge 
of all that was going on in the human frame, so that he 
could point out the seat of the malady by simply placing a 

The Tschi-hln or City Prison. 427 

j:)Iece of common window-glass upon the pit of the patient's 
stomach, and looking into it ! 

Adjoining this College of Health is the city prison, or 
Tschi-hin, in which, when we saw it, were confined about 
100 prisoners in the various wards. In that set apart for 
the worst class of criminals, we saw about 40, heavily shackled 
and manacled. Three of these were confined in low wooden 
cages, about three feet in height and width, and four feet 
in length, and fastened to each other by ii'on chains running 
through. These men also wore iron rings on their feet. One 
of these unfortunates was sentenced to 70, and each of the 
other two to 60, days of such durance, without being suffered 
for one moment to come out from the cage, which was placed 
on the ground, and like a hen-roost, was provided with 
perches running through it, so as to interfere still further with 
freedom of movement. Their food consisted of rice and 
vegetables. According to their own showing, these three 
were sentenced to this terrible punishment in consequence of 
some affray, but we had reason to believe that some more serious 
matter was the real cause of their having this penalty inflicted 
on them. We gave the unhappy wretches a few pieces of silver. 
Each hastily secured the donation in a corner of his cage, 
and seemed in his forlorn condition doubly sensible of the 
value of a metal whose influence, especially in China, is so 
powerful, so all -pervading, and so infallible. 

One very peculiar institution is the Wei-kwan, a sort of 
Council Chamber, situated on the N.E. side of the city be- 

428 Voyage of the Novara. 

tween tlie walls and the river, in wliicli all matters in dispute 
between mercantile men are adjusted, and in conjunction 
with which is a temple in honour of the goddess of the seas 
(Tien-Mu). In the centre of the council-room is a large ele- 
gantly-shaped iron pan (Schang-Lu), in which the merchants 
and seamen frequenting the hall burn slips of paper, on 
which are written the wishes of those making their offerings. 
Also money, fruit, &c., are here sacrificed, and Chinese 
mariners, whose "junks" have come unscathed through a 
storm, or have been preserved, make their thank-offerings in 
the shape of elegant little models of their ships, which are 
placed in various parts of the building. This hall was 
founded in 1270 by the Sung dynasty, on a site where cer- 
tain Chinese believed they had observed that the tumultuous 
tide of the Whampoa river gradually lost its violence, as it 
approached the spot, a phenomenon which to them seemed 
of marvellous significance. Under the Yuen and Mui dynas- 
ties the temple was repeatedly plundered and burnt to the 
ground, but was rebuilt through the influence of a Tao-priest. 
In 1735, an imperial edict ordered the observance of certain 
religious ceremonies from time to time, an example which 
has been followed to the present day. 

Directly facing the goddess of the sea (called also Kwan- 
Yin, Queen of Heaven),* who is represented by a life-size 

* We occasionally saw the Queen of Heaven (K wan-Yin) represented with a child 
in her arms, and have in our possession a piece of carved work representing such a 
group, which we purchased in a shop at Shanghai. This elegant figure seems to be 

Hotels. — Rate of living. — Food. 429 

figure placed at the bottom of the apartment, a large stage is 
erected, on which Chinese dramas are represented for their 
entertainment from 10 o'clock in the mornin": till nierhtfall. 

In one part of the immense pile of buildings there are also 
provided dwellings for such Chinese merchants as visit Shang- 
hai from the interior of the kingdom, and have neither friends 
nor relatives in the city with whom they can take up their 
residence, for public taverns are in China only frequented by 
tlie very lowest classes. We entered one of these Chinese 
hotels, which we had come upon during our ramble, and in- 
spected the eating-rooms and bed-rooms, which are usually 
situated on the first floor. The usual charge is from 100 to 
140 cash a day for board (4c?. to 6c?.), and from 20 to 40 cash 
for lodging {\d. to 2d.). The gloomy, filtliy, cavernous aspect 
of each room makes even a moment's stay intolerable. The 
victuals supplied consist chiefly of rice, vegetables, and fish. 
In the interior, board and lodging in these taverns is very 
much cheaper, and the well-known and highly meritorious 
English missionary Dr. Medhurst, who, in 1845, traversed, 
in the dress of a Chinese, a large portion of the silk and tea 

a favourite deity with the Chinese, as it frequently adorns their Uttle domestic altars, 
and is especially reverenced by the women who are desirous of the honours of ma- 
ternity. The striking similarity between this exhibition and that of the Holy Virgin, 
as we see her represented in Catholic Churches, with the infant Jesus in her arms, 
must involuntarily suggest the idea that there has been an infusion of Catholicism 
intermingled here with the rites of Buddha. If the resemblance between the two is 
not accidental, it may readily be assumed that the same thing has occurred here as in 
the case of certain Christian legends, which the traveller encounters among various 
races, on whom the beams of Christian civilization have never been shed. 

43 o Voyage of the Novara. 

districts, relates that the customary charge for supper, bed, and 
breakfast next morning altogether amounted to 80 cash only, 
or about 3|r/. ! * In the streets of Shanghai, the eating-houses 
are greatly out-numbered by the tea-houses, where one gets a 
cup of tea for 6 cash {{d.). These, like our own caf^s, are laid 
out with little tables, stools, and benches. As soon as a guest 
enters and takes his seat, a Chinese attendant brings a cup, 
throws into it the proper quantity of tea-leaves, and pours 
boiling water upon it. After the lapse of a few minutes the 
hot light yellow liquid is hastily swallowed, but avoiding the 
leaves which are swimming on the surface, and usually serve 
for a second or even a third infusion. These tea-houses are 
crowded with visitors throughout the day, who sometimes 
transact business here over a cup of tea and a pipe of oiled 
tobacco, sometimes resort hither to wile the time listlessly 

The chief place of amusement, however, of the native popu- 
lation of Shanghai is the Tea-Garden (Tschin-Huang-Mian), 
or temple of the Emperor, which contains numerous gardens 
laid out in Chinese fashion, and booths of all sorts, besides the 
attractions of jugglers, singers, actors, soothsayers, musicians, 
and mountebanks, all driving their respective avocations. The 
whole scene is eminently characteristic of the grotesqueness 

* The price of each meal is as follows : — 
1 bowl of rice, 

1 „ vegetables, ... 

1 cup of tea, 

Breakfast, consisting usually of rice, vegetables, and tea, 

Bed, fire, and attendance, 

12 cash 


... „ 












A Chinese Tea- Garden. 431 

of Chinese taste. Artificial canals and tanks filled with gi^een 
sta"*nant water, redolent of miasmatic effluvia, amid whicli 
the Lotos opens its lovely white blossoms, quantities of zig- 
zag bridges with beautifully carved balustrades, islands with 
artificially constructed rocks and grottoes, subterranean pas- 
sages, flags of all shapes and sizes, bearing the most bombas- 
tic inscriptions — such are the chief attractions of a Chinese 
People's Garden, every large town boasting one such, erected 
at the expense of the State, in which from early morning till 
late in the evening a vast crowd of human beings is incessantly 
surging to and fro, intent on pleasure, dissipation, or profit. 
The rabble, however, have not access to every part of the 
Tea-Garden, a certain portion being set apart for the recrea- 
tion of the chief officials of the city (Tdu-Tai). This portion, 
shut off by a lofty wall, is elegantly laid out, and is made at- 
tractive with all manner of dwarf trees nursed with great care 
and expense, besides the usiial grottoes, artificial hills and 
precipices, pavilions, &c. Hither the head magistrate oc- 
casionally resorts to pass the warmest hours of the day, and 
dozes away undisturbed by the cares of his onerous responsi- 
bilities. All the public gardens of China present almost the 
identical features of the one we visited ; a park without arti- 
ficial islands and wooden bridges, without canals (in lieu of 
paths), without pools of stagnant water thickly covered 
with the broad leaves of the Nelumhium^ would, in the eyes of 
a Chinese, be deprived of its chief pleasm^e and its greatest 

432' Voyage of the Novara. 

Close to the Tea-Garden is the largest Buddhist Temple 
within the city walls, in which throughout the day the over- 
credulous Chinese kneel before their idols, and with many 
reverences murmur their set formulas of prayers. Like every- 
thing else in China, even religious observances are regarded 
from the most practical point of view. They think they 
have done enough when they have gone through a certain 
round of outward ceremonies. The condition of most of the 
temples, the utter neglect of some, and the various employ- 
ments of others, indicate that the Chinese either has no sense 
of the sanctity attaching to such places of devotion, or else 
attaches but little value to the act itself. The men rarely 
enter the temples. It is only the women who, to satisfy the 
cravings of the heart, have recourse to invoking the Deity. 
Frequently one sees a worshipper approach the attendant 
sitting in the porch of the temple, in order to get their 
horoscope calculated by him for a few cash. For this pur- 
pose she shakes with eager devotion a box of bamboo cane 
filled with thin wands, until one of these wands springs out. 
The words inscribed on each wand furnish the oracle-ex- 
pounder with an infallible sign, by which, after consulting one 
of the books of Chinese wisdom spread out before him, he is 
enabled to pronounce the answer of the divinity to the 
prayers preferred by the poor dupe. The most prolific 
source of revenue of the temple and its ministrants, consists, 
however, in the sale of the gold and silver tissue paper,* 

* This sacrificial paper, coloured and written upon, is usually called " Joss " or 

Examination- Hall in the Temple of Confucius. 433 

which plays so important a part in the worship of the Chinese, 
and owing to! their zealous and frequent use are heaped up 
in immense piles, for consumption by fire in a gigantic 

Much more edifying than the interior of the great Budd- 
hist temple with its troops of swag-bellied idols in their parti- 
coloured apparel, some with a good-humoured leer, others 
sulkily scowling on the beholder, is the appearance of tlie 
temple of Confucius * in a remote quarter of the city. In 
this extensive building, at once elegant and simple, and with 
numerous halls and corridors, the scholars undergo their 
examination for the service of the state ; here the Government 
officials at stated seasons perform certain religious ceremonies, 
and here all the literati assemble for the discussion of grave 
questions of debate. The main hall has its red-tinted walls 
covered with Chinese and Tartar inscriptions, all of which 
refer to Confucius, his doctrines and his wisdom. At inter- 
vals, a number of tablets let into the wall inform the visitor 
that this edifice is devoted to the instruction of the virtuous, 
and the cultivation of the endowments. At the same time 
every person who passes this in a sedan chair or on horse- 

"Sycee" paper in Canton English, because the prayers addressed to the Divinity are 
usually for riches and silver ingots (Sycee), which the suppUants hope to obtain by 

* Properly spelt Kong-fu-tseu, from which the Europeans have constructed the 
Latinized name Confucius. Kong-fu-tseu (sometimes also written Komj-tse) was 
born 550 B. c. in the city of Kio-siu-bien, in the modern province of Shan-tung. 
VOL. II. 2 F 

434 Voyage of the Novara. 

back, whether an official or one of the people, is compelled to 
quit his vehicle and traverse the consecrated space* on foot. 
Over the entrance to the right is written: ''His virtue is 
comparable to Heaven and Earth ; " and above the door to 
the left we read, " His teachings comprise all the wisdom 
of ancient and modern days." Behind the temple is a 
smaller edifice, dedicated to the five progenitors of Confucius. 
The temple itself is similarly surrounded with various apart- 
ments, all, as their bombastic inscriptions announce, devoted 
to the honour and advancement of knowledge. One of these 
chambers is dedicated to the god of Literature, another to 
the guardian spirit of Science. The latter is curiously 
represented as a figure holding in one hand a stylus^ in the 
other a lump of silver, emblematic, we presume, of '' man 
through wisdom attaining unto riches." 

In every city throughout China there is, as well as a tea- 
garden, a temple in honour of the great teacher Kong-fu-tse, 
whose knowledge and whose moral system, 2400 years after 
his mortal pilgrimage, instruct and gladden not merely his 
own countrymen, but all admirers throughout the world of 
what is noble and virtuous. 

Among the various monasteries of the city, we visited one 
of the Taouists, called the Du-Kung or Great Mirror (probably 
of Virtue), where strangers provided with introductions are 
received and entertained at 150 cash {fod. per diem). This 
cloister, whose sole inhabitants are some five or six Cliinese 

The Tao Doctrines. — A Chinese Convent. 435 

monks, is situated close to the wall, and forms one of the 
best points whence to obtain a view of the entire city. 

The Taouists, who follow the Tao, the '' way of knowledge," 
and arrogate to themselves a more profound insight into the 
mysterious powers of nature, as well as more special ac- 
quaintance with and definite powers over good and evil 
spirits, are disciples of the doctrines of Lao-tse,* and are 
extensively scattered throughout the country, although at 
present, in consequence of their losing themselves deeper and 
deeper in a slothful, sensual mode of existence, their proselyt- 
ism is j)roceeding at a much slower ratio than formerly. It is 
purely accidental that there is immediately adjoining the 
Taoui monastery a convent known as that of the " Wliite 
nuns," a small one-storey building, kept however singularly 
neat and clean. Here we saw six Buddhist nuns, with close- 
shaven heads and in long white dresses, which gave them 
quite a masculine aspect. They received us with much cour- 

* Lao-tse (Lao-tseu), born B. c. 504, in the village of Knio-schin, in the kingdom 
of Thsu, held the post of keeper of the archives of the palace under the Tscheu 
dynasty. In his Book of Philosophy (Tao-te-king) the following remarkable words 
occur : " The rule of antiquity has been, not to shed light on the people, but to keep 
them in ignorance. A people that comprehends is dilRcult to govern. On this 
subject men say, Whoso governs a kingdom in knowledge, the same is the destroyer of 
that kingdom ; whoso governs a kingdom assigning no reason, the same maintains 
that kingdom. In the family, in the school, children are brought up among idols. 
When they enter school in the morning they are taught to do honour to the image 
of Kong-tse. This custom must be forthwith dispensed with." (Compare J. R. 
Kaeuffer's History of Eastern Asia, for " Friends of the History of Mankind," Leipzig, 
Brockhaus, 1859, vol. ii. p. 64, and K. F. Neumann's Eastern Asiatic History, 
Leipzig, W. Engilmann, 1S61, p. 129. 


436 Voyage of tiiG Novara. 

tesy, and escorted us round the various apartments with 
considerable enipressement. They were mostly widows, who 
pass their lives here in calm retrospective contemplation, 
and occupy themselves with preparing little articles for the 
Buddhist ritual, such as censers, tapers, printed sacrificial 
papers, &c., with which apparently they contrive to support 
themselves. These associations (Ni-koo) were usually found- 
ed by legacies and donations by pious Chinese, and are 
exceedingly useful as providing an asylum for poor, helpless 
women, weary of life. Many widows withdraw into these 
abodes of peace, there to pass the rest of their lives, free from 
the tumult of the world, in the exercise of devotion and of 
works of neighbourly love and charity. Nevertheless, if we 
are to believe common report, works of piety are not the only 
objects occasionally pursued in these Buddhist convents, and 
the web of intrigue and amorous adventure, of which they 
have frequently been the scene, has not a little tended to 
lower the estimate in which these religious societies are held, 
and even threatens to cut short their existence. A people of 
such a materialistic mode of life, and such ant-like industry, 
as the Chinese, who rarely know what it is to have one 
holiday in the entire year, must involuntarily look with 
argus-like eye on all religious communities, which pass their 
time in luxurious ease and exemption from care, without in 
any way advancing the well-being of their fellow-creatures 
by cither mental or physical labour. 

Singular Constituents of lite Chinese Pharmacopoeia. 437 

In the course of our peregrinations through the streets of 
Shanghai we also came upon the shop of a Chinese apothe- 
cary (Yak-Tien), which externally bears a considerable re- 
semblance to a similar establishment in Europe, but widely 
differs in respect of details. The Chinese Materia Medica is 
especially abundant in patent medicines, the use and applica- 
tion of which, it must be allowed, is frequently of the most 
extraordinary nature. 

According to the latest researches of Dr. Hobson, of whose 
important services in the diffusion of European medical 
science in China we shall have much to say in a future 
page, we are acquainted with 442 drugs from among the 
three great kingdoms of Nature, which must be kept in every 
well-stocked Chinese drug-store, of which 314 belong to the 
botanical, 78 to the animal, and 50 to the mineral world. 
We shall, however, in this place only indicate those of which 
Chinese physicians avail themselves most frequently in the 
preparation of their medicines, such, for example, as birds' 
nests, dried red- spotted lizard, the fresh tips of stags' antlers, 
the shell of the tortoise, dogs' flesh, bones of animals, pre- 
parations from various parts of the human body, whale-bone, 
oyster-shells, skins of snakes, shark's maw and fin, tendons 
of deer and buffalo, dried silk-worms, their larvae and excre- 
ment, bamboo shavings, the bear's gall, preparations from 
human fcEces, scraped rhinoceros and antelope horn, rabbit 
dung, cuttle-fish bone, dried varnish, dried leeches and earth- 
worms, red marble, refuse of ivory, preparations from 

438 Voyage of the JSJovara. 

toads, petrifactions, old copj^er money,* snow-water,t 
human milk,| &c. &c. 

These pharmaceutics are brouglit from various parts of 
China, as well as from Japan, Siam, and the Straits of 
Malacca, and constitute an important and profitable branch 
of commerce. Many of them are sold at the druggist's in 
the raw state, when they are used as sympathetic remedies, 
amulets, or generally for external use. The Chinese drug- 
gists sell their medicaments for the most part in the form of 
powders or pills. These latter are usually made up in a 
capsule of bees-wax for greater facility of administration, so 

* Copper coins, struck by a ruler with whose reign any memorable occurrences 
are associated, command a high price as health-giving amulets. Some of these, 
those, for instance, of the Ming and Sing dynasties, have very special healing virtues 
attributed to them. The currency of Tsching-ta (1506 — 1522) are unfailing preserv- 
atives against the perils of pregnancy, and the illnesses consequent thereon. Others 
are held in great honour as prophylactics. The mode of application consists in the 
invalid dragging them by a cord over various parts of his body in a certain prescribed 

t The Chinese attribute the most marvellous healing powers to water, and accord- 
ingly apply it in a variety of forms, in numbers of maladies of the most dissimilar 
character. Water, cold, tepid, warm, and hot, as also snow and iced-water, figure 
among the hst of medicaments, as do also rain-water, well and river- water, brackish 
water, dew, water from any eddy or whirlpool, or a stream, boiling-water, and 

\ The Chinese women are for this reason anxious to keep their children at the 
breast for two or three years and even longer, partly by way of speculating upon 
their having a constant breast of milk, and in this singular manner make up for any 
deficiency of cow's milk, between the market demand and the actual supply. A 
Chinese who possesses five or six concubines in addition to his legitimate spouse, 
may thus boast of a regular dairy farm. As sailors on arriving in port are usually 
excessively fond of milk, which they drink in large quantities, we were not a little 
amazed on learning from a physician at Hong-kong the source whence in all proba- 
bility had been derived the milk that was so plentifully supplied ! 

Chinese Universal Medicines. — Tlie Ginseng. 439 

that the dose as it comes from the shop resembles those 
small wax- cakes used by house- wives for waxing their thread. 
One such cake contains four or six pills, called Tsi-pdu-tan, 
or very costly pills, which are used as a sort of universal 
specific against fevers, affections of the digestive organs, 
headaches, &c. &c. 

The most valuable and costl}^ article in the Chinese 
pharmacopoeia is, however, the Ginseng [Panax Ginseng, or 
Panax Quinquefolia), which is chiefly found in Mantchooria 
and the deserts to the north of the peninsula of Corea. The 
circumstance that the Ginseng is still a monopoly of the 
Chinese Government, only a few privileged individuals 
being annually permitted to purchase a certain quantity for 
its weight in pure gold, has much more to do with its 
efficacy as a panacea than the benefits conferred by its cura- 
tive powers. The roots are about the size and thickness 
of a man's little finger, and break short off when bent. 
When cleaned they are transparent, and of a dark amber 

Of the Ginseng there are tliree qualities sold in the Chinese 
di'ug-stores. One leang or ounce of the best (the largest and 
finest) costs 50 dollars, of the medium quality five dollars, 
and of the most inferior quality one dollar. Tlie Ginseng 
root is also found in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Canada, 
and is thence exported to China, but the Chinese prefer that 
of their- native forests, even though these are very much 
dearer, and there is hardly any difference to remark between 

440 Voyage of the Novara. 

them. As the plant is only found in the wild state, and 
obstinately resists all attempts to cultivate it, its collection 
among the forests of North America is attended with great 
hardship and expense, and whereas in former years the 
profit realized on this article of commerce by English 
and American merchantmen amounted to from 500 to 
600 per cent., it is now reduced to a very moderate 

A more general subject of interest is presented by the 
shops where is sold the porcelain- ware, the manufacture of 
which dates from a very remote period of Chinese history, 
and was already a flom-ishing trade at the commencement of 
our historic epoch. Indeed we may reasonably assume, not- 
withstanding the beautiful specimens of the art which from time 
to time are brought to light, that this special branch of in- 
dustry is at present in a state of decline, while of many kinds 
of porcelain manufacture no examples can now be shown, as 
the secret of their manipulation has perished. What usually 
interests Europeans in these shops is what is known as 
'' crackle" porcelain,* the upper surface of which every where 
presents broken lines, so that the entire vessel appears as 
though it consisted of numbers of small pieces cemented to 
each other, the whole having very much the appearance of 
Mosaic. But this description also is no longer manufactured 
of the first quality in the present day. Antique porcelain is 
of extraordinary value, but specimens of modern manufacture, 

* In German Bruch-porzelkm, in French porcelaine-craquelee. 

Fondness for tending the Grasshopper. 441 

such as small figures, mannikins, &c., are very cheap, and 
are much the same as those imported to Europe. 

One marked partiality of the Chinese is their fondness for 
suspending grasshoppers in small elegant baskets of bamboo 
strips, or twisted wire, in which, whatever the season or the 
weather, these little captives keep up a constant pleasant 
chirping. This custom is of great antiquity, and while one 
even now finds among the populace of the present day some 
of these chirpers thus carefully tended, there once was a time 
when the grasshopper was the object of universal adoration, 
and enjoyed all the honours of Fashion. They were indebted 
for this singular good fortune, according to the abb(^ Grosier,* 
to a poor scholar under the Thang dynasty, in the 7th cen- 
tury of our era, who to relieve his poverty fell upon the 
singular expedient of trading in these insects. He went into 
the country, selected the most beautiful insects he could find, 
constructed elegant little cages for them, and returning to the 
city offered them for sale in the most firequented streets of 
Tschang-gan. The idea was novel, and the wealthy upper 
classes speedily found a charm in having the music of the 
fields thus transplanted into their houses. The Empress, the 
Queens, the ladies of the Palace, in a word, every one was 
eager to possess these songsters of the meadow. There was 
actually an enactment passed for the supply of the Imperial 
Palace with the requisite number of these insects. The fash- 
ion rose to a perfect mania — the little Zii-peru was en- 

* Dtscription gene rule de la Chine. 

442- Voyage of the Novara. 

countered at every corner — it was taken out whenever a call 
was paid — the whole city resounded with its shrill cry. The 
fine arts, and every branch of industry, felt its impulsCo There 
was no textile fabric, no embroidery, no design, no vessel, on 
which it did not conspicuously figure. It was represented in 
metal and in jewellery, and no handsome lady thought her 
toilette complete, unless she sported a grasshopper among her 
hair. This mania has died out in China, but the buzz of the 
insect still continues to furnish matter of amusement for the 
populace and children of all classes, and they are still caught 
in large quantities, and exposed for sale in the streets. Sin- 
gular to say, all ancient and modern writers, if we are to 
judge by their delineations, describe these insects as cicad(E^ 
whereas it was shown and proved by the researches of one of 
the zoologists of the Expedition, that the insect is no cicada^ 
but a species of grasshopper [Decticus), which, so far as ap- 
pears, has never hitherto been described. Very probably the 
circumstance that the noise made by each of these insects is 
very similar, gave circulation to this error of upwards of 
a thousand years' standing, whence people would without fur- 
ther examination take it for Ranted that the insect confined 
in the cage belonged to that species whose place in natural 
history, and whose special musical qualifications, mankind had 
so long been familiar with. One of these grasshoppers was 
kept for months in such a cage on board our ship, and chirped 
away lustily, fair weather or foul, even when confined in a 

Precautions against Night Affrays. — Chinese School, 443 

close cupboard. On the other hand, some cicadce^ with which 
similar experiments were made, lived only two or three days 
in captivity. None sang, unless when teased, or when a 
number more were introduced into the vessel, thereby incom- 
moding them, and none took nourishment. It was obvious 
that the cicadce possessed none of those characteristics which 
would enable them to be kept in captivity as pets, whereas, on 
the other hand, the grasshoj^pers and crickets were especially 
adapted for that purpose. 

We were anxious to visit a variety of other interesting 
places, ere quitting the sultry, gloomy Chinese city on our 
return to the more genial European quarter. But evening 
was already setting in, and after sunset the gates of the city 
are closed, and neither Chinese nor European can after that 
hour obtain access to the city. Whoever is belated must 
find shelter for the night in the house of some hospitable 
friend, until with the first break of morning the gates are re- 
opened, communication is restored with the foreign quarter, 
and the previous day's scene of bustle is renewed. 

The next object which excited our interest was a Chinese 
school. Ascending a wooden staircase, we enter a room, 
quite empty but for a table and stools, in which a haggard 
woe-begone Chinese, with long tail and rod in hand, is walk- 
ing to and fro, while at a table some dozen of boys of from 
eight to twelve are engaged in reading. Their loud accents 
may be heard down in the street outside. The cost of the 

444 Voyage of the Novara. 

schools for the people is chiefly defrayed by voluntary sub- 
scriptionSj foundations, &c. &c. The children of the middle 
classes pay for nine months' instruction, three Spanish dollars. 
Many teachers have more than a hundred scholars, and thus 
earn about 1000 dollars per annum. These, it is true, are ex- 
ceptions, but teaching as a profession seems on the whole to 
be fully better remunerated in China than in European 
countries. There it is in much higher estimation, and re- 
ceives better recompense. The wealthy Chinese usually 
engage private tutors for their children, who, as among 
ourselves, usually form part of the family. Elementary 
education is almost universal throughout China. There are 
but few Chinese who are not at least able to read and write. 
One very gratifying instance of the prevailing religious 
toleration, well worthy of example in the Christian states of 
Europe, is the presence of Protestant and Catholic places of 
worship in the midst of Buddhist temples, and other edifices 
dedicated to heathen worship. The American Episcopal 
church, erected in 1850, at the expense of a wealthy merchant 
and ship-owner of Boston named Appleton, at a cost of 6000 
dollars, already numbers eighty converts. It is an extremely 
simple yet neat-looking place of worship, quite in the style 
of the chapels in the Western portion of the American Union, 
and has in connection with it a school numbering about forty 
native scholars. Every Sunday morning at ten, a sermon is 
preached, which is attended by most of the foreign com- 
munity. Far grander and more imposing in plan and fit- 

The Catholic Cathedral. — Oil Factory. 445 

ting's is tlic Catholic cathedral of Tong-Kadii, confessedly the 
finest place of Christian worship throughout China. The 
construction of this building was commenced by voluntary 
subscription in 1846, and comjjleted in 1852, the total cost 
amounting to 230,000 leangs^ or about £65,000. Within there 
is a large organ, constructed by one of the lay brothers of 
bamboo pipes, whose saddening yet inspiring notes, heard in 
the festivals of the Church, invite the Christian community far 
and wide to devotion and instruction. At j)resent this cathedral 
is under the charge of a bishop of the Order of the Jesuits. 

Our road from the Chinese city to the European quarter 
led us past an establishment which bore interesting testimony 
to the industrial activity of the Chinese. It is an oil factory 
worked exclusively by natives, and giving employment to 
about 400 worlonen, besides 80 draught oxen. The oil is ex- 
tracted from indigenous beans, and is so copious, that 1400 cat- 
ties (1750 lbs.) of oil are procured daily, which is worth 74 cash 
per catty (about 84 J. per lb.), and is used both for cooking and 
for light. The residuary oil-cake, after expression of the oily 
matter, is used as manure.* A workman may earn at this 
description of labour from 100 to 200 cash a-day {4:d. to 8J.). 

♦ Not alone this oil-cake, but ground horns and bones, hair from the beard, and 
nail-parings, rust, ashes, and even human excrement are used as manure. And it is a 
singular fact that the price of the latter varies according to the race of men by whom 
it has been evacuated. The succulently nourished flesh-eating English and Americans 
are in this respect in far greater demand than the more sparely-fed cross-breeds ; 
while the Chinese, subsisting almost exclusively upon fish and vegetables, are in 
respect to the value of their /<5ces as manure, behind every other race inhabiting the 
country. The price of this manure varies with the quality from one dollar to tliree 

446 Voyage of the No vara. 

As we left the manufactory, and were bending our stops 
towards the little Eastern gate, our gaze was suddenly 
attracted by a spacious and elegant mansion, evidently 
the property of a well-to-do Chinese. This, as we were 
informed by our companion, proved to be the residence of 
the Wuong family, which ranks among the five oldest 
and most distinguished families in Shanghai. There is 
to be seen in the neighbourhood a small stone memorial 
shaped like a mausoleum, which, with the Emperor's per- 
mission, was erected by the inhabitants of the district in 
which she lived, to commemorate the benevolence and 
philanthropic exertions of the mother of Wuong. The 
custom of honouring ladies distinguished by their virtues and 
benevolence, by the erection of temples, cenotaphs, &c., is by 
no means unusual in China, and is in marvellous contrast to 
the almost slavish treatment which the female sex usually 
meets with. Nevertheless, in the city and environs of Shang- 
hai alone there are ninety such triumphal arches and me- 

dollars the picul. This custom of collecting and disposing of human excrement for 
manure is much more extensively observed in the interior of the Empire than in the 
provinces along the coast. " If," writes M. Hue, the well-known missionary, — " if we 
were not aware to what perfection the denizens of the Celestial Empire have carried 
the art of manuring, one would be at a loss how to reconcile the fondness of John 
Chinaman for making money with the conveniences free of all charge which the 
proprietors of the soil everywhere erect for the comfort of travellers. There is not a 
city nor a village in which this is not universally the case. In the most crowded 
streets, or the most out-of-the-way abandoned spot, one frequently marvels to find 
these " cabinets " in cane-work, earth, or even masonry. One is almost tempted to 
believe he is in a country where the care to provide plenty of public latrines is pushed 
to the extreme. Utilization, however, furnishes a sufficient explanation of all these 

Interview with an eminent Chinese Gentleman. 447 

morials to as many exemplary and philanthropic ladies. The 
majority of these were married, and some had attained a 
very great age, one having died at 104 years, and another at 
115 years of age ! * 

In the house of Wuong, who stands in high repute among 
the Europeans as a merchant and ship-o\vner, we were re- 
ceived with the most gratifying hospitality. As soon as we 
entered the house, an attendant immediately presented tea 
in small cups, which, in conformity with the usages of the 
country, had to be swallowed in all its native bitterness with- 
out admixture of sugar or milk. Immediately after an old 
nurse made her appearance, and struck up with our excellent 
conductor, Mr. Syles, who seemed to be everywhere welcomed 
by the Chinese, and was well acquainted with the family, a 
long conversation upon the most diverse subjects. At length 
the master of the house himself made his appearance, a dig- 
nified, stately man, arrayed in a light elegant grey silk frock, 
but in deportment and externals not differing in the very 
least from his Chinese attendants, and himself conducted us 
round the house. He seemed to feel pleasure in the oppor- 
tunity of baring to the view of a stranger the very penetralia 

* In every part of this extensive empire, travellers encounter these national tributes 
to the memory of distinguished women, and Dr. Medhurst, as also Fortune and other 
authorities upon China, relate numerous instances of these remarkable memorials. 
One of these, an archway of stone, is spoken of by Medhurst as of singular beauty. 
It is half a mile from the city of Kwang-Tib, and was erected by the community of 
that region, with the approval of the Emperor, in honour of a lady of that city, of 
singular piety and benevolence. Over the portico arc inscribed the words " Kin-siu- 
tsae-tschung " (a golden and perfect heart precisely in the middle). 

448 Voyage of the Novara. 

of his beautiful abode. We wandered through numerous 
apartments simply yet elegantly furnished, with various ante- 
chambers and corridors, among which were interspersed little 
plots laid out with dwarf plantations, artistically- designed 
grottoes, and ^'rookeries." In one of the rooms was a 
" punkah," an article of furniture rarely met with in a Chi- 
nese household. On reaching the library or study, our host 
bade us be seated, while he again ordered tea to be served. 
This small but pretty apartment was covered all round with 
inscriptions in Chinese (chiefly maxims from Confucius), 
which, written on rolls of white paper, were suspended on 
the walls. While sipping our tea, and engrossed in convers- 
ation, an attendant appeared with somewhat thick cloths, 
steeped in hot water, with which to wipe our faces and hands. 
The evaporation of the moisture lowers the temperature of 
the skin, and has so refreshing an effect, that one cannot but 
feel surprised that this custom is not more extensively patron- 
ized in hot countries, or put in practice by ourselves during 
our hot sultry summers. 

With respect to ourselves, what appeared most to interest 
our Chinese host in his silken attire was our apparel. He 
felt over and over again the black alpaca coat, which was 
worn by one of the members of our Expedition, and re- 
marked, " these Western races are truly marvellous people; 
they wear far more clothes than we do, yet they perspire 
less." And thereupon Wuong mopped his face twice witli 
the towel, which in the mean time the attendant had again 

The " Strangers' Quarter'''' in Shanghai. 449 

dipped in the liot water, and thoroughly wrung out. As wo 
were taking our departure, our courteous host accompanied 
us to the threshold. 

In the portico were a number of wooden tables lacquered 
with red varnish, on which were inscribed in large golden 
letters of the Chinese character the titles of honour of the 
family of Wuong, which on festive occasions were drawn in 
front of the head of the family as he sat on his sofa. 

After this ramble through the Chinese town, we returned 
to the '' Strangers' Quarter," where we came upon a widely 
different mode of life. Here everything is arranged upon 
the European model, and the attention is only diverted by 
those minor accessories, in which the climatic conditions 
have necessitated some variation. The houses are universally 
lofty, roomy, and agreeable, usually surrounded by a gar- 
den, and many of them present an almost palace-like aspect. 
More even than to the merchants in Broadway is the desig- 
nation of " merchant princes " applicable to the foreign mer- 
chants of China and the East Indies, for it is among them 
beyond any other class on the globe, that there prevails a 
luxury almost princely in its magnificence. In such a place 
as Shanghai, which can present to the educated foreigner 
such a meagre equivalent for his numerous intellectual pri- 
vations, each man endeavours in the readiest possible way 
to render his material existence as comfortable and agree- 
able as he possibly can. This leadhig princij^le one sees 
illustrated and carried out in practice in the splendid de- 

. VOL. n. 2 G 

45 o Voyage of the Novara. 

signs of their residences, and the exquisite refinement and 
comfort of their internal arrangements, as well as in the 
scrupulous attention paid to the cellar and the " cuisine." 

On the ground-floors are the counting-house and stores, on 
the first floor the drawing-room, the dining-room, and the 
sleeping apartments. All these various chambers are de- 
corated with as much attention to comfort as good taste, and 
almost every single article bears on it the solid, unmistakeable 
impress of its English origin. Even into the most minute 
details all the genuine comfort of an English drawing-room 
is introduced, increased even, if that be possible, by the 
adoption of a few customs peculiar to the peoples of Asia, 
such as mats of fragrant materials placed before the doors 
and windows, Punkahs, which, kejit in motion by Chinese 
servants, keej) up a constant current of fresh air, wliile 
through the verandah, or the open glass casement, where the 
family sit swinging to and fro in an American rocking-chair, 
a delicious cool breeze blows in the mornings and evenings. 
A well-appointed numerous household is constantly hovering 
around, eagerly intent to anticipate the slightest wish of 
their employers. Probably in no part of the world are there 
more intelligent or punctual servants than the Chinese. 
They get through the utmost variety of work with consum- 
mate tact, method, and facility. Everything is done rapidly 
and noiselessly, and one is served with the utmost regularity, 
without being pestered with too much attention. 

The members of the Novara Expedition experienced in 

Branch of the London Mmsionary Socictt/. 43 1 

Slianghal the most hearty hospitality. Even the presence 
of tlic various embassies, and the momentous nature of the 
operations of which the Gulf of Petcheli was the scene, proved 
no barrier to a most flattering reception being accorded to 
this the first maritime Expedition of a German power. 
Foreigners of the most widely divergent races and standing, 
— consuls, missionaries, merchants, naturalists, journalists, — 
each in his own wav vied with the rest in ministerino: to our 
comfort, and in aiding us in the prosecution of our objects. 

One of the most distinguished of the physicians and 
missionaries of the London Missionary Society, Dr. B. Hob- 
son, who since 1838 has resided at Canton in the honourable 
caj^acity of a "medical missionary,"* and who, a few months 
before our arrival, had, in consequence of the outbreak of 
hostilities, removed to Shanghai, was so kind as to furnish 
us, out of his own rich treasures of Chinese lore, with much 
valuable information, and acquainted us with the various 
objects aimed at by the praiseworthy activity of the London 
Board of Missions. This body by no means confines its 
operations to the diffusion of tracts and works 'relating to 
Christianity published in the Chinese language, but com- 
bines simultaneously with that sphere of action the excellent 

• In the hospital, in what is called the western suburb of Canton, which was 
under the charge of Dr. Hobson from 184S to 185S, the annual number of patients 
of both sexes under treatment averaged upwards of 20,000. During the most un- 
healthj^ season (May and June) the number imploring assistance frequently amounted 
to from 3000 to 3400. In the dispensary there were, morever, from 200 to 200 pa- 
tients, who received medical advice three times a week, and were supplied with 
medicaments gratuitously. 

2 G 2 

452 Voyage of the Novara. 

idea of ministering to tlie physical necessities of the poor and 
sick Chinese, and of helping them in their need. While able, 
eloquent Dr. Muirhead presides over the missionary schools, 
and the not less zealous Mr. Wylie superintends the printing 
of the books, our highly educated friend Dr. Hobson takes 
charge of the hospital, the cost of which is defrayed partly 
by the Missionary Society, partly by the European com- 

The building itself is rather small and unpretending, and 
can at most accommodate only thirty patients. But it was 
erected chiefly for those cases which in England it is cus- 
tomary to classify in the general category of " accidents," 
injuries, that is, sustained unexpectedly, or in a riot, &c. 
&c. Every day between twelve and one o'clock a consulta- 
tion is held, and treatment provided gratuitously. Hither 
flock hundreds of invalids, to avail themselves of this benevo- 
lent arrangement, and while Dr. Hobson is busy giving 
orders and dispensing drugs in his small apartment, a native 
convert in the waiting-room is preaching the Living Word 
to those who come for advice. 

We passed an entire hour in the dispensary, not merely 
for the purpose of witnessing the various descriptions of 
cases, mostly of a surgical nature, but also to catch many an 
instructive remark from the lips of Dr. Hobson. Thus he 
remarked, as the result of a medical practice of more than 
sixteen years, that the Chinese are uncommonly soon aflected 
by the use of mercury and quinine. A very small dose of 

Susceptibilit(j of the Chinese to Mercury and Quinine. 453 

either of these drugs very speedily shows a marked effect. 
Oddly enough, quinine, as a tonic and febrifuge, is unknown 
in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, and is almost exclusively pre- 
scribed for the cure of the opium-smoking form of mania. 

In China, a physician is treated with great distinction, and 
is usually designated as szi-yay (the honourable teacher). 
Of late years cholera (tschan-kan-tschui, literally '' the con- 
tracting of the tendons") and small-pox had committed fear- 
ful ravages among the populace, and the appalling havoc 
committed by the latter-named disease gave occasion for the 
publication by the English missionaries of a short treatise trans- 
lated into Chinese, on the importance of vaccination. Among 
children especially the mortality caused by this fell scourge 
was very great, and the instances of leucoma and loss of sight 
resulting from the disease appear to have been very numerous. 

Dr. Hobson, who in 1851 had published a volume of 
Physiology in the Canton dialect, has also completed a hand- 
book of Practical Surgery, with 400 woodcuts, and, like the 
preceding, had had it printed by native workmen. Even 
the drawings were drawn on the wood and cut by native artists 
after English originals. Many of the scientific phrases con- 
tained in these works must have required to be entirely re- 
constructed, or else expressed by a circumlocution. Dr. Hobson 
intended to follow up these two splendid undertakings with a 
fresh work upon Pharmacology, as also a treatise upon the dis- 
eases of women and children, both, like their predecessors, to 
be in the Canton dialect, as that most universally used. 

454 Voyage of the Novara. 

The Chinese, however, possess themselves a pretty compre- 
hensive medical literatm.'e, whence we may infer that from 
the earliest times they paid special attention to the science of 
medicine. According to a Chinese tradition, the Emperor Schi- 
nung-, 3200 years before our era, collected a '' Materia Me- 
dica," and 570 years later, the Emperor Hwang-t^ is said to 
have written a work with the title " Sonwan " (open ques- 
tions in medicine). The celebrated work, '' the Doctrine of 
the Pulse," by Wang-shu-fo, was written in the reign of Tsche- 
Hwang-te (the book-burner), about 510 B.C. A second 
edition of this work was published in the reign of Kang-he, 
in the year 1693 of our era. About a. d. 229 the Chinese 
physician Tschang-kae-pin wrote the first Chinese work 
which, in addition to the theory of medicine, also contained 
prescriptions. The great ^^ Materia Medica'''' of Cliina was 
compiled by Li-tschi-kan, and was published by his son dur- 
ing the reign of Wan-Leih, about a.d. 1600. The most im- 
portant medical work in Chinese is the E-tsang-kin-ksen, or 
''the Golden Mirror of Medical Authors," collated by Im- 
perial authority from the best works of earlier native authors, 
especially from the ''Nan-king," and the writings of Dr. 
Tschang-kae-pin. This was • published in 1 743 (the seventh 
year of the reign of Keen-lung), and consists of thirty-two 
volumes 8vo, with upwards of 400 woodcuts.* 

* We saw this huge work in the private hbrary of the chief of the medical staff at 
Hong-kong, Dr. W. A. Harland, who had conceived the idea of publishing a more 
important work upon Chinese drugs, when death struck down this distinguished 
and most industrious gentleman while in the active discharge of his duties. 

Leprosii in China. 435 

The information furnished us by Dr. Hobson with reference 
to the terrible forms of lej^rosy in China are of so much in- 
terest, general as well as special, that we believe we shall not 
transcend the scope of this work, if we give in these pages 
the valuable data upon the subject in all their completeness. 

The Chinese consider leprosy as the most appalling of 
diseases, since, while resisting all means of cure itself, it at- 
tacks others, and they accordingly avoid in the greatest 
terror all those who are smitten with it. Like the people 
whom Moses brought out, the Chinese regard leprosy as a 
direct consequence of impiety, an expiation for sin com- 
mitted. For this reason those afflicted with leprosy are 
rarely regarded with pity. No hand of sympathy is stretched 
forth to give aid, no heart feels itself impelled to alleviate 
their hopeless condition, and thus the most wretched of all 
are in the eyes of the masses simply objects of disgust and 
of horror. Leprosy is called Lae in Chinese. In the Im- 
perial dictionary of Kang-he Lae, is described as a very evil 
kind of disease, which breaks out upon the skin in the form 
of blotches and pustules. Gutzlaif and others acquainted 
with Chinese make use however of the words Ma-fung to ex- 
press leprosy, which is also used by native writers to indi- 
cate the disease. 

The Chinese physicians consider leprosy as a subtle, pene- 
trating, poisonous effluvium which has infected the blood. 
They profess to recognize 36 different kinds of leprosy, 
among which they enumerate every form and variety of 

456 Voyage of the Novara. 

Lichen, Scabies, Psoriasis, and Syphilis. Common as the dis- 
ease is in Southern China, it is unknown in the North ; its 
area of manifestation seems to be confined within the tropics. 
It is, however, related of many Chinese in good circum- 
stances, that when attacked by leprosy they have removed to 
Pekin, where after a two years' residence they have lost all 
trace of the infection, which, however, broke out anew im- 
mediately on their return to the South. 

Leprosy does not seem by its physical effects to shorten 
life. There are in China numbers of aged people attacked 
with this disease, and in the Lazar-house at Canton there is 
still living an old leper upwards of eighty, who has long 
found an asylum in that hospital as an incurable. Suicide is 
not uncommon among those thus sorely smitten, when they 
usually poison themselves with an over-dose of opium, hang 
themselves, or drown themselves, for death, they say, makes 
them once more clean. Although the Chinese believe in the 
hereditary transmission of leprosy, they nevertheless think 
that the disease becomes of a milder t}^e in the third gener- 
ation, and entirely disappears in the fourth. Marriages never 
take place with the offspring of leprous parents or grand- 
parents, but on the other hand the lepers and their children 
intermarry among themselves. A leper however of the fourth 
generation would only ally himself with a girl of the same 
degree of exemption. The children of such a union would 
be considered sound and free from leprosy, and would 
no longer be excluded in any way from social rights. 

The Leper Village near Canton. 457 

But the Chinese believe leprosy not alone hereditary, but 
also infectious through the very slightest contact. Hence 
the father abandons his own child ; the children flee from their 
parents : they will not eat and drink with them, will not sit 
in their company, will not use the chairs which have been 
sat upon by the leper, until at least the surrounding atmo- 
sphere has been fumigated with a torch. Even the law 
declares leprosy to be a contagious disease. A wealthy 
leper durst not venture to leave his own room, where he is 
excluded from all communication with the outer world, with- 
out exposing himself to tlie danger of being arrested by the 
police, and mulcted in a heavy fine, or else sent to what is 
called the Leper village near Canton, an abode of human woe 
and misery, which even the leprous regard with horror.* 

As the Chinese physicians regard leprosy as a taint of the 
blood, and in their treatment adopt Hahnemann's principle 
of similia similibiis ciiranturj they prescribe by way of 

* In the Leper village near Canton, which is under the superintendence of a 
Chinese physician, there are about 100 lepers of both sexes, each of whom receives 
about 20 cash (not quite one penny) daily for his support. The superintendents 
stated to Dr. Hobson, who repeatedly visited the village, as the result of their 
many years' experience and observations, that leprosy is not in every case transmitted 
from parents to children ; that several wives of leprous persons have no trace what- 
ever of the disease, but that these women in all probability belong to those of the 
third and fourth generation, who wholly escape. The Chinese overseers and attend- 
ants, however, can have had as little opportunity for remarking upon the breaking 
out of leprosy among the children of those whose parents were entirely exempt from 
it as they had of informing themselves with accuracy as to the various forms and 
rapid diffusion of the disease in the case of the one, or its mild type and gradual 
disappearance in the other. Perspiration or suppiu-ation in the diseased parts are 
never remarked in these patients. 

45 8 Voyage of the Novara. 

remedies tlie most repulsive and disgusting substances which 
they can select from their Materia Medica, such as the 
saliva of the toad, beetles, snakes, worms, scorpions, centi- 
pedes, &c. &c. 

Dr. Hobson considers leprosy, when once fully developed, 
to be incurable. Such remedies as arsenic, salts, acids, in 
short alteratives, occasionally prove efficacious at an early stage 
of the malady, as also Iodine baths, and mercm-ial friction. 
External remedies however are usually found to be unavailing 
in reaching the root of the disorder, its seat lying deeper than 
an ordinary affection of the sldn. 

Of late years the seeds of the Tschaul or Tscharul Mugra 
(one of the order of Flacourtiacece), have been administered for 
leprosy by several English physicians in India, and certainly, 
in some instances, with such results that the most sanguine 
hopes were entertained of its efficacy in all cases of leprosy. 
Dr. Hobson informed us that Dr. Mouatt, of the Medical Col- 
lege, Calcutta, who was the first to discover the remarkable 
properties of this plant, sent him, when he was at Canton, a 
considerable quantity of these seeds for the purpose of experi- 
menting with them.* They were ground into a coarse pow- 

* At the Refuge for the Destitute {Monegu choultry) at Madras, where Dr. Mudge 
was at the same time instituting experiments lasting over two years, exhibiting these 
same remedies in every form and shape of elephantiasis, to which cases a special 
ward had been set apart, rarely entertaining fewer than 100 -patients, that gentleman 
found it to be perfectly inoperative, and he accordingly entirely ceased prescribing it. 
In lieu of the Tscharul Mugra, the Hindoos in cases of leprosy make use of what are 
known as the " Asiatic pills," consisting of arsenic, pepper, and the root of the Asclepia 

Proposed constitutional Remedies for Leprosy. 459 

der, and in that state administered twice a day at considerable 
intervals in doses of about 60 grains, the external sores being 
at the same time rubbed with the oil pressed out of the seeds. 
The cure must be persevered in without interruption for six 
months, and must be from time to time aided by saline pur- 
gatives. The first symptom of improvement shows itself in 
an abatement of the prominence and redness of the eruption, 
and the appearance of white scales all round it. This remedy 
has long been known to the Chinese, but those who are 
acquainted with the active curative principle contained in the 
seeds of the Tscharul Mugra, keep the secret to themselves 
in their own interest.* Dr. Hobson assured us that he had 
cured two cases of leprosy taken early, and in a very mild 
form, by the administration of these seeds, and had seen 
several greatly improved by their use ; but this experienced 
physician is, like others, distrustful of the efficacy of the seeds 
of Tscharul Mugra in cases of fully developed leprosy, which, 
according to his view, is pre-eminently a taint of the blood, — a 
poison which can never again be eradicated from the system. 
In cases of scrofrila, these seeds have been found serviceable. 
Like their brethren of the London Missionary Association, 
the various missions of the United States of North America 

* In'an old Chinese medical work occurs the following remarks upon the plant : 
" Tae-fung-tzi. Taste, acrid and burning: imported from the South (this obviously 
alludes to the Straits of Malacca). Acts as an alterative on the blood, and is accord- 
ingly useful in cases of leprosy, when the blood is corrupted. The oil pressed from 
the seeds is also used as a remedy in ulcers, eruptions, and psoriasis, and for killing 
worms. This drug must be exhibited in the fonn of pills." 

460 Voyage of the Novara. 

display tlie most praiseworthy zeal and activity of co-opera- 
tion upon every question. 

That eminent philanthropist, Dr. Bridgman, who had, for 
more than a quarter of a century, been an active and highly 
esteemed missionary, was in 1858 at the head of the American 
Episcopal Mission, and was one of the oldest, as also among the 
most highly respected, denizens of the little foreign settlement. 
This meritorious citizen died at Shanghai, on the 29th of 
November, 1861, after having spent upwards of thirty years 
in China in the promotion of the Christian faith and the ad- 
vancement of knowledge, deeply lamented by foreigners, as 
well as by the Chinese, who always found him their true and 
confident friend. This gentleman had the kindness to assem- 
ble under his simple but kindly roof the various members of 
his mission, who are no less useful in increasing our acquaint- 
ance with the Chinese language and literature than in 
diffusing the blessings of the gospel, thus famishing the mem- 
bers of the Novara Expedition with an opportunity of personal 
intercourse with these gentlemen. We here became acquainted 
with Mr. Wells Williams, so highly esteemed and so widely 
known for his profound historical and philological works * re- 
specting China, as also with Messrs. Syle, Aichison, Macy, 
Jones, and Blodgett, missionaries distinguished for their ex- 
tensive acquirements in Chinese ; and in the course of this 

• Geography, Statistics, and Natural History of the Chinese Empire — New York, 
1S47; Tonic Dictionary of the Chinese language — Canton, 1856 ; Chinese Commer- 
cial Guide. Fourth edition — Canton, 1856. 

The Wild Tribe of Midu-Tze. 461 

agreeable and interesting intercourse were so fortunate as to 
obtain information respecting a variety of topics, many of 
them suggested by Dr. Pfitzmaier, and recommended by him 
to our investigation. On most of these topics accurate intel- 
ligence was in the course of our voyage transmitted to the Im- 
perial Academy of Sciences ; of the remainder elaborate and ' 
comprehensive particulars are reserved for the scientific pub- 
lications of the Expedition. 

We may, however, more closely investigate here one topic of 
universal interest, namely, the latest researches respecting the 
very remarkable, little known, half-savage tribe, known as the 

These extraordinary human beings are usually encountered 
in the provinces of Kwei-chan, Yun-n^n, Szechuen, Hundn, 
Kwang-si, and the western part of Kwang-tung. The wild 
tribes of the island of Formosa belong, on the contrary, to an 
entirely different race. In the Imj)erial Dictionary of Kang- 
hi, the sign ^ , midu (a compound of the words ^' flower " and 
" meadow "), signifies " germinating seeds," '' blades of gi^ass 
springing from the seed-vessels." The sign -p , tsz, on the other 
hand, is that usually employed to express son, or descendant. 
In accordance with this explanation, the Chinese also seem to 
consider the Midu-tze as children of the soil, as aborigines, or 
indigenous inhabitants of the country. In their descriptions 
of this singular people they divide them into "Sang" and 
*' Schuli." Sang^ ordinarily used when speaking of fruit, sig- 
nifies " green, unripe," — schuh again means '' ripe," or, when 

462 Voyage of the No vara. 

speaking of food, the former signifies ''raw," the latter 
''thoroughly cooked." By these means they discriminate 
them into the savage independent " green" Miau-tze, and the 
subjugated more civilized " rijje " Miau-tze. The subjection 
and civilization of these latter are however as yet very pro- 
blematical. As in days long gone by, so up to the present 
hour, the Miau-tze are restless and troublesome neighbours to 
the Chinese. Dr. Bridgman has lately translated into Eng- 
lish the sketches made by a Chinese scholar upon the Miau- 
tze, during his travels in the province of Kwei-chan, by 
which he has added greatly to our stock of information 
respecting those " children of the soil ;" tlie work consists of 
two volumes in 8vo, containing about 82 sketches or delinea- 
tions. Each of these fills one page, the handwriting being 
condensed or expanded according to the amount of the con- 
tents, while that opposite contains an illustration elucidatory 
of the text. This very rare work divides the Miau-tze into 
82 tribes according to their customs, more or less savage, very 
few of whom possess any trace of a written language, record- 
ing the most important events simj^ly by certain marks on a 
stick, or by what are called " tallies," and subsisting upon wild 
fruit, fish, and the flesh of wild animals. They usually go 
about bare-footed, are very scantily clad, lead a life full of 
privation and hardship, and in all their troubles have recourse 
to the invocation of the evil spirits. Only very few of their 
race follow agriculture, or any branch of industry, or worship 

Similarity of their Customs ivith those of the Mantchoos. 463 

Buddha in their festivals.* Some of these however seem to 
be more or less crossed with Chinese blood, as, for example, the 
Tsche-Tsai-Miau, in the district of Kutschan, whither the rebel 
Ma-san-pai formerly fled with 600 of his followers, when his 
attempt, under his feudal leader, Mu-san-Kwei, to overthrow 
the reigning dynasty, failed of success. Many of these fugi- 
tives formed connections with the native women, and their 
descendants are now known by the name of the six hundred 
savage Miau families. 

Adjoining Dr. Bridgman's residence, is a school maintained 
at the expense of the mission, in which twenty-four Chinese 
girls are during five years instructed in reading and writing 
their mother tongue, in arithmetic, and in the rudiments of 
Christianity, after which they are provided with a small 
portion and married to Chinese Christians of good character. 
Selected under the idea that very favourable results may be 
anticipated, if the various subjects in which the scholars are 

* In the figures of the Chinese original, which represents the Lo-hau-miau or 
Buddhist aboriginal, Buddlia is represented in a cavity of a rock. Two burning lamps 
are standing beside him, one on each side, and in front are two worshippers in devo- 
tional attitudes, while at a short distance one perceives a woman with a little child, 
who is approaching the divinity. The men wear fox-tails as ornaments to the head, 
and their long locks hang loose and dishevelled, far below the shoulders. Every 
year on the third day of the third moon, our Chinese traveller goes on to state, old 
and young, man, woman, and child, bring offerings of fruit to Buddha, and for that and 
the three next succeeding days, they sing and dance, and at the same time make offerings 
of aU manner of cooked food. From their custom of wearing a fox-tail on their heads, 
which was also common among the ancestors of the present Mantchoos, and that these 
wld tribes reverence the image of Buddha, Dr. Bridgman is disposed to class them 
amongst foreign nations. 

464 Voyage of the Novara. 

instructed are imparted to them in their native language, 
English is entirely omitted. Interesting and extraordinary, 
however, as it is to hear American ladies imparting instruc- 
tion in the Chinese language, this method of teaching has 
many draw-backs, and the mission itself and society in 
general would derive far more advantage, if these poor 
females should be instructed in English, thus widening the 
horizon of their knowledge. 

In the boys' school, also supported by the mission, another 
method of teaching is in use. The children learn an epistle 
first in Chinese, afterwards in English, when they are called 
upon to translate the Chinese into English. Thus we heard 
one lad rehearse the Book of Ruth, first in Chinese, and then 
in English. He was then examined in English upon the 
meaning of certain passages, when he replied with great 
accuracy in the same language. Education in these schools 
is mainly intrusted to ladies. Two of these, Miss Jones and 
Miss Conover, displayed remarkable attainments in Chinese, 
besides their really marvellous store of information. None 
of the teachers are married, while none of the wives of the 
missionaries interfere with the school, but employ themselves 
in superintending the education of their own children. We 
found forty Chinese boys receiving their education at the ex- 
pense of the mission, whose j^arents have to sign a wi'itten 
engagement that they will not withdraw their children from 
the institution for a period of ten years, in fact, till the com- 
pletion of their education. This precaution is absolutely 

Meeting of the Branch Royal Asiatic Societij. 465 

necessary, owing to the fickle nature of the Cliinose, else it 
would be a by no means rare occurrence for the parents to 
insist on the child returning home, possibly just at the criti- 
cal moment when the beneficent influence of Christian cul- 
ture is beginning to spring up in the soul. On the whole, 
this mission has splendid results to show. We saw one 
scholar, who at present forms one of the staff of teachers, and 
speaks and writes English absolutely better than his native 
language. Another young Chinese, sent out at the expense 
of the mission, spent eight years at Yale College in Massa- 
chusetts, and at present earns his maintenance by translating 
English documents into Chinese and vice versa, for the mer- 
cantile houses of the place. 

Dr. Bridgman is at once founder and president of the first 
scientific association in Shanghai, the " North China Branch 
of the Royal Asiatic Society," including among its members 
almost all the foreigners resident in Shanghai, who assemble 
regularly every winter for intellectual and literary recreation, 
and publish from time to time in a periodical of their own, 
details of the efforts, adventures, and experiences of their 
colleagues in promoting the objects of the association. 

An extraordinary meeting was held in honour of the No- 
vara voyagers, at which about forty persons were present. 
The President, Dr. Bridgman, welcomed our commander and 
his subordinates with a few cordial remarks, which was re- 
sponded to by Commodore Wiillerstorff, after which the 
writer of these lines had the honour to deliver in English a 

VOL II. 2 H 

466 Voyage of the Novara. 

brief address, touching on tlie cliief aims of the Expedition and 
its scientific objects, stating that its chief purpose was less 
the promotion of purely scientific ^knowledge, than by ample, 
long-continued practice to provide material of suitable quality 
for our youthful budding navy, to unfurl the standard of 
Austria in localities where it had never before been seen, to 
effect treaties of commerce with foreign nations, to knit tlie 
various jcapitals which we should visit in our cruise by the 
tie of science, to open correspondence with their various 
institutes, and to make collections, cliiefly of those objects 
of natural history, the acquisition of which, owing to their 
great value or the difficulty of transport, is almost impossible 
to the single traveller. The hearty reception which had been 
accorded the Expedition in Shanghai rendered it doubly in- 
cumbent on us to explain the various purposes we had in 
view, and tlie original points of inquiry to which we were 
restricted by the track definitely assigned to us, as also to 
account for the shortness of our stay in each port, and the 
fact that our prescribed route led us sometimes to visit places 
either politically or nautically well known. 

After the close of this short lecture, several of those present 
rose to speak, amongst others the United States Plenipoten- 
tiary, Mr. Reed, who expressed his sincere j^leasure at having 
been privileged during his stay in China to meet with the 
commander of an Austrian frisfate en2:af>:ed with his gallant 
companions in so grand a mission. 

Mr. Reed spoke in high terms of the scientific exertions 

Reception hjj M. de Montigmj. 467 

being made by Germany, and recalled in animated terms the 
splendid services of A. von Humboldt, whom the news of the 
death of Washington (14th Dec. 1799) found already oc- 
cupied in scientific research in the primeval forests of South 
America, and who still (August, 1858) continued to display 
such marvellous intellectual activity. 

, Besides Mr. Reed, we also made the personal acquaintance 
of the French Plenipotentiary, Baron Gros ; the ambassadors 
of England and Russia were already gone, the former to 
Japan, the latter to the Amur. TVe were introduced to 
Baron Gros at tlie house of M. de Montigny, the French 
Consul, who during a residence of many years in China has 
occupied himself not alone with upholding the prestige and 
influence of '' la grande nation^'' but has also rendered con- 
spicuous services to science and agriculture. To him is due 
the credit of having in 1847 dispatched to Europe the first 
seeds of what is called the Chinese sugar-cane [Sorghum sac- 
charatani), and of having introduced to agriculturists that re- 
markable species of grass, with which, in consequence of its 
many useful qualities, hundi^eds of thousands of acres have 
since that period been planted in various parts of tlie 
globe. M. de Montigny distinguished the members of our" 
Expedition in every way, and presented them with numerous 
specimens of seeds from Northern China.* 

* Among these there were, besides a small quantity of Sorghum, several species of 
vegetables, which are suited for cvdtivation in temijcrate climates, such, for example, 
as Poussen, Pa-tse, Pon-ta-tse, with which since our return experiments h;ive been 
instituted in various parts of the Austrian Empire. M. de Montigny luis also since 

2 II 2 

468 Voyage of the Novara. 

The visit paid to Baron Gros by two of the naturalists left 
by no means an agreeable impression. Tlie French ambas- 
sador is a tall, commanding, powerfully-built man, about fifty 
years of age, with a full, round, beardless face covered with 
freckles, and hair of a light colour. He seemed pleased to 
speak of himself and his connections, and repeatedly pro- 
claimed himself an admirer of German men of science, who 
was in correspondence with M. von Humboldt. "Yoa 
know," quoth the Baron, apparently desirous of explaining 
his meaning, "he that wrote the Kosmos." The two mem- 
bers of our Expedition coloured up ; to pronounce the name 
of Plumboldt to German men of science, and deem it neces- 
sary to state his literary claims, was sufficiently embarrassing. 
One of them endeavoured to turn the conversation to the 
gulf of Petchi-li, whence Baron Gros had just returned after 
the ratification of the treaty of peace. He showed them a 
hasty sketch of a portion of the great wall of China, to whicli 
he had paid a visit when in the gulf of Petchi-li, and had 
made the sketch on the spot. The natives with whom he 
came in contact during his stay in the North he described as 
destitute and poor to an extraordinary degree, but anything 
but hostile to foreigners. They asked for with eagerness and 
seized with avidity the entrails of animals which the sailors 
were about to throw away ; on empty bottles being thrown 

our return sent, quite lately, a large quantity of Chinese seeds by way of souvenir, 
and despite illness, is so much interested in forwarding the objects of the Imperial 
Expedition, that he was a short time ago decorated with an Austrian order. 

Notes of the Expedition 0/1858. 469 

overboard, tliey swam a considerable distance to rescue tliem. 
With respect to the political events in the Pei-ho and Tien- 
Tsin, liis Excellency, whether out of diplomatic reserve or 
for other reasons we do not know, preserved profound 

* We are however in a position to furnish an extract from the note-book of an 
English sailor, left in charge of the yacht of an English merchant at Shanghai, who 
accompanied the expedition of Lord Elgin to the Pei-ho as coxswain. Notwith- 
standing the occasional naive expressions made use of, it is a valuable narrative, such 
as may call up many strange reflections in the mind of the reader : — 

" 1858. May 30th. — The nver Pei-ho is about 150 yards wide at its mouth, and at 
dead low water varies from lito4^ fathoms in depth. On the bar, which is two 
miles wide, the diflierence between the ebb and the flood is from 9 to 10 feet. Easterly 
winds cause the highest tides. In the interior, near Tien-Tsin, the river is from 3 
to 6 fathoms deep, and from 50 to 100 fathoms wide. Countless villages stud the 
banks. The houses are built of clay or straw. The boys run about naked to an 
age of eight years. It is a very wretched population. The coolies plunge into the 
water after the empty bottles which are swimming about. They seem exceedingly 
willing to be serviceable to foreigners. At Tien-Tsin, ten and a half hours from the 
mouth of the river, the thermometer marks 89° Fahr. in the shade. Lord Elgin is 
living in a private house on shore. The interpreters live in a passenger-junk. Pro- 
visions are on the whole cheaper than at Shanghai. An immense number of natives 
keep crowding open-mouthed round the " barbarians " and their ship during the entire 
day, hundreds following us at every step. Almost all the shops ai'e shut, through 
dread of the barbarians." 

" 4th June. — Thermometer 95'. The people very willing to supply the strangers 
with water, tea, &'c. The natives are on the average from five to five feet three 
and well-proportioned. Some of them are " tremendously " fat, with huge heads. 
Among the entire lot I could not see one single woman. The streets are narrow, 
filthy, and uneven. Saw several hand-carts, which were used to convey water from 
the river to the village. On each barrow there could be fi-om six to eight buckets of 
water. There were also plenty of mules and donkeys, but very few horses." 

" June IS. — This day the Russian minister concluded his treaty. A Russian courier 
starts to-morrow for St. Petersburg with dispatches." 

"June 26th. — At 6 p.m. to-day the treaty with England was signed. Went in proces- 
sion to the town. All the shipping dressed with flags, and manned yards. The 
festivities went off in the Yamun. Lord Elgin sat at the middle table, with a Man- 
darin on each side of him. I hear their names were Wa-schu-nau and Kwei-liang. 

47 o Voyage of the Novara. 

A variety of circumstances, however, may have contri- 
buted to make the Baron less susceptible to every other thing 
than his everlasting "I." Baron Gros had in fact been sub- 

The first named is a strong, corpulent man of about 45 ; the latter is much older, and 
seemed very much dejected; he has however just recovered from sickness, which may 
account for it. After the ceremonies of signing and sealing had been gone through, 
they all partook of refreshments provided by the Mandarin. Lord Elgin proposed 
a toast to the health of the Emperor of China, and to the future friendship of the two 
nations, which was responded to by the Mandarins. Shortly after the assembly 
broke up, and we all marched home to the excellent music of the flag-ship's band 
and the bugles of the marines. The whole affair lasted about three hours and r. half. 
It was full moon, and a splendid night. 

" June 27th. — This afternoon the treaty with the French was signed. Returned to 
their ships by torch-light, port-fires, &c. &c. Ki-ying, the Mandarin who assisted 
in bringing about the treaty, was sentenced to be decapitated, as he was blamed for 
opening the door to the barbarians, but he has since been pardoned." 

" July 3rd. — News came from Pekin that Ki-ying has committed suicide by cutting 
his throat." 

" July 4th. — Themiometer 96° on board, despite awnings and sprinkling the roof of 
the wheel-house with water ! " 

" July 6th. — Left Tien-Tsin. After a long, tedious, and tiresome passage of 15 days 
we reached Shanghai once more on 21st July, all well. 

" Price of provisions at Tien-Tsin. as contracted for on 2'^th May, for the supply of 
the English fleet : — 

Oxen (average weight 4 piculs, or 533 lbs.), the carcase ... .$10 

Sheep, „ ... 2 

Hens, ... ... ... ... ... per dozen ... 1 

Geese and ducks, ... ... „ ... 2 

Eggs, ... ... ... per thousand ... 3 

Vegetables, picul=133| lbs. ... 1.50 

Rice, ... ... ... ... .,. ,, ... 5 

Sugar, ... ... ... ... ... „ ... 6 

Yams, per dozen ... 1 

Pears, ... ... ... ... ... per hundred ... 1 

Apples, „ ... L50 

Ice, ... ... ... ... ... per lb. ... 16 

" All articles to be delivered of the best quality. The prices are reckoned in Ame- 
rican dollars. Every morning a boat was sent off' to the Coromandel, on board which 
the purchases took },lace." 

French Di2)lomatists in the East. 4^1 

jcctcd to tlie very great inconvenience of the Propellor Auda- 
cieuse, which had been brought from France, having suddenly- 
become unseaworthy, so that he had to abandon her. She 
was making from 100 to 140 tons of water per diem, and 
there was nothing for it but to have the vessel taken with all 
speed to the docks at Whampoa for repairs, while the envoy 
had to return to Europe by another opportunity. More- 
over, the Baron had been attacked by a disorder of common 
occurrence in hot countries, namely, a furuncle, which is 
exceedingly painful, and obstinately resists every remedy. 
Whoever is of a constitution liable to such attacks is never 
free from them till he gains a colder climate. In the case of 
the unfortunate Baron, these went on continually increasing, 
and on one of his compatriots being asked in society what was 
tlie cause of the absence of the French ambassador, replied 
with an arch look, '' le imiivre haron a quatre-vingt clouxP In 
fact, the annoyance caused by this malady is redoubled by the 
little sympathy accorded to those afflicted with it, who are 
only rallied or laughed at. 

Another personage who, at tlie period of our stay in 
Shanghai, attained a rather unenviable notoriety by his 
strange conduct, and did but little to raise the recantation of 
France in these latitudes, was the Marquis de Chassiron. By 
his marriage with one of the Princesses Murat (since dead), 
he was allied to the Emperor of the French, whom he occa- 
sionally spoke of in an off-hand way as '' mon neveu, T 
Empereur." Meagre, mzcn, spindle-shanked, and ringlettcd, 

47 2 Voyage of the Novara. 

in coloured check pantaloons, blue frock, open-work cravat of 
Gros (le Naples, and dancing-master's puiiips, resembling 
much more a second-rate Paris dandy than a diplomatist, it 
seemed as though he must have been dispatched to this out- 
of-the-way pai*t of the world for quite other than a diplo- 
matic object, although he took great pains to spr-ead the re- 
port that he had been appointed the successor of Baron Gros 
in the Embassy. 

One day the Commodore and some members of the Expe- 
dition received an invitation from the kind and hospitable 
English Consul, Mr. Brook Robertson, to be present at a re- 
ception at the Consulate of the Tau-Tai, or highest Chinese 
official of the city.* 

We the more readily congratulated ourselves on this invit- 
ation, as, owing to the sudden departm-e of the Tau-Tai, we 
missed the opportunity of paying him a visit in his own 
palace in tlie city. Punctually at the appointed horn-, 2 p.m., 
a formal jjrocession was seen approaching the buildings of the 
English Consulate. In front were carried numerous titles and 
insignia, then the Tau-Tai in a large and handsome sedan- 

* The Tau-Tai, whose authority extends over the three prefectures of Soo-Chow, 
Sung-Kiang, and Tai-tsing in the north-east of the province of Kiang-ti, is under 
the governor of Soo-chow, and has resided at Shanghai ever since that port was 
thrown open to trade. His salary by law is only 4000 taeh (£1445), but the various 
perquisites and emolument attached to it make his actual income about 365,000 taeh 
or £105,000 per annum; out of which he has, however, to defray all expenses 
of subordinates, &c. ; so that the net annual income of this post is estimated at from 
25,000 to 30,000 taeh (£7000 to £8700). Besides the Tau-Tai there is only the 
Tschi-hien, a sort of magistrate who lives in Shanghai, and trades with the fo- 

Ceremonial Visit of the Tdii-Tai. 473 

chair, and finally a noisy '' following," in the shape of a rabble 
of servants. Mr. Robertson received the Tau-Tai at the 
threshold of his house, and greeted him with the customary 
Tschin-Tschin, moving the hands closely folded a few times 
over the breast. 

All present kept the head covered, making in like manner 
a few Tschin-tschins, and then accompanied the visitor to the 
reception-room, in which were five stools, the seat of honour 
being on the left. As soon as the Tau-Tai was seated, the 
rest took their seats, and a proposition was made in conse- 
quence of the truly tropical heat, contrary to Chinese notions 
of com'tesy, to divest one's self of one's head-gear. The 
Mandarin, at all events, seemed as little loth to lay aside his 
funnel-shaped straw-cap, with its blue button and peacock's 
feather, as the Europeans present to doff their uniform caps. 

The presentation of the commander and the author of this 
narrative by Mr. Meadows, who acted as interpreter, gave the 
Tau-Tiii an opportunity of inquiring of the English Consul 
whether our frigate had been at the gulf of Petcheli. Mr. 
Robertson replied that the Novara was the first "war-ship of a 
German power which had ever visited the Yang-tse-Kialig 
and Wusung rivers, and that the frigate was bound on a voy- 
age of scientific discovery. This led to a running fire of 
questions and answers, during the course of which two 
attendants were engaged alternately in filling a small pipe 
with tobacco, which they handed to the Tau-Tai. The latter 
drew a few puffs, permitted the smoke to escape through his 

474 Vofjctffe of the Novara. 

nostrils, after which his pipe was again replenished with a 
small supply of tobacco. 

We next had an examj^le of the custom, already mentioned, 
of wiping the face with a liot dam23 towel,- one of the attend- 
ants dipping a rather thick piece of linen cloth in a tub of hot 
water, which was then wrung out, when the cloth was pre- 
sented to the Mandarin, who, without in any way interrupt- 
ing the conversation, from time to time wiped the perspiration 
from his brow. 

The Tau-Tdi had a well-made, handsome figure, pleasing, 
rather intelligent, features, a round, smooth, delicate face, 
without any trace of beard, eyes as usual drawn up at the 
outer corner, small elegant hands, and beautifully tapered 
fingers, with very long nails. His dress was very simple ; he 
wore, for the sake of coolness, a shirt made of thin bamboo 
shoots, with a long, yellowish, loose surcoat, white drawers, 
and, instead of the usual Chinese shoe with its high cork soles, 
or white thick gaiters, he wore light shoes of European make. 
His head was covered with a cone-shaped straw-hat of very 
fine texture, with a red tassel and blue knot in the midst, and 
a dark green peacock's feather, extending horizontally back- 

Business over, a table was covered, and the Tdu-Tai invited 
to partake. According to the Chinese custom, only confec- 
tionery, preserves, and fruit were handed round. The liquids 
consisted of sherry, liqueurs, Chinese wine or Samschoo (made 
from rice and imbibed from cups in lieu of glasses), and green 

Topics of Convey m lion ivlth the Tdu-Tal. 475 

and almond tea. The Mandarin drank to all present, and 
seemed to take more to sherry and Maraschino than to his 
own native diinks. The slim liqueur bottle, with its neat gilt 
label and the thick cork stopper, seemed especially to attract 
his attention. 

After a few commonplace observations, the Tau-Tai once 
more turned the conversation upon Austria, and remarked he 
had never before heard of that power. Mr. Meadows endea- 
voured to prompt the memory of tlie Chinese official, produced 
Muirhead's universal geography translated into Chinese, turn- 
ed up therein the section relating to Austria, and handed the 
book to the Tau-Tai, who had the entire passage read to him 
by one of his attendants, that he might '' get up " the country 
from wliicli the strangers had come who were seated on his 
left and right hands. 

The inquisitiveness of every Cliinese now displayed itself in 
a series of inquiries as to the principal products and articles 
of export of the Empire, and he expressed a hope he should 
ere long see more of the " Austrian Mandarins" in Shanghai. 
The Novara travellers on their side with a patriotic pride, 
readily pardonable under the cii'cum stances, endeavoured 
through the medium of the Government interpreter to leave 
the best possible impression of their native country upon the 
mind of the Tau-Tai, by giving a glowing description of the 
Austrian Empire, its natm^al advantages, and its people. Of 
numbers the worthy man seemed to have no definite idcii, 
for the remark that the Empire contained (1st August, 1858) 

476 Voyage of the Novara. 

very nearly 40,000,000 inhabitants seemed greatly to as- 
tonish him, although this is probably barely one-tenth of the 
population of the Chinese Empire.* 

Just as the Tau-Tai was preparing to set out on his return, 
a tremendous tumult was suddenly heard in the street. It 
seemed like a popular insurrection, and servants were forth- 
with sent out to ascertain the cause of this unexpected 
shindy, who came back presently with the intelligence that 
an English sailor had struck a coolie of the suite a blow on 
the face with his fist, so violent that he was seriously injured, 
and was bleeding profusely. The Tau-Tai made his aj)- 

* As another example of an interview with the highest class of Chinese officials, 
we must briefly describe one enjoyed by some of our Expedition with a Mandarin 
named Li-hoi-wan. He received them in a chamber of his house, in which were a 
few small tables and chairs, while at the other end was an elevated cushioned seat on 
which sate Li-hoi-wan, a large stout man. He wore a Mandarin hat, with a blue 
button, and a greyish blue coat reaching to the ground. He saluted the foreigners 
by folding his palms across his breast, invited them to be seated on the dais beside 
him, and ordered cigars and tea to be brought. Afterwards sweetmeats of every de- 
scription, confectionery, and fruit were served, as also Chinese wines, the latter, to 
judge by their flavour and their fragrance, seeming as though they must have hailed 
from a perfumery store rather than a wine cellar. Two days after the Chinese, with 
delicate courtesy, returned the visit at their quarters in the residence of M. Probst, 
the Consul for Oldenburg. Punctually at the appointed hour three far-resounding 
taps of the gong were heard, a foot- soldier of police presented a flaming red " carte de 
visite," bearing the name and titles of Li-hoi-wan, who forthwith was received by the 
travellers at the threshold, in compliance with Chinese customs. He was attired in 
heavy silk clothes, his fan in an elegantly worked sheath, a gold lever watch in his 
girdle, and was in excellent spirits. The hospitable host had, according to the cus- 
tom of the country, prepared a chow-chow, or collation, at which, however, instead of 
Samschoo, champagne was the prevailing beverage. A few days later the Man- 
darin visited his newly acquired friends on board the frigate, and begged their ac- 
ceptance of a variety of presents, such as silks, nuts, tea, dried fruits, and Chinese 
maxims and proverbs, written on long rolls of paper, that, as he naively expressed it, 
we might think of him " as a brother." 

Riot h>j an English Sailor. — Excursion to SiJckawei. 477 

pearance on the portico. As soon as the injured man saw 
liis master approaching, he flung himself before him implor- 
ing aid, and exhibiting his face streaming with blood, and 
the wound gaping open. The Tau-Tai ordered the man to 
rise, and delivered him to the Chinese police. Occasionally 
when a Chinese receives a wound in a quarrel of this nature 
he will abstain from wiping off the blood-stains from his face 
for weeks together, finding, it should seem, some satisfaction 
in being able to exhibit them. This done, the procession 
resumed its march. In front strode a man who from time to 
time administered a sounding thwack to the gong, after 
which he rushed through the streets bawling like a Stentor, 
that the people might crowd on one side and leave the Tau- 
Tai space to pass unobstructed. The rear was brought up 
with police, catch-poles with long bamboo poles, and the 
executioner with his axe — the never-failing attendant on such 
occasions, — who accompanies it, however, only as a sort of 
allegorical personage, to impress upon the yelling crowds 
around the consequences of disobedience, and of rebellion 
against constituted authority. 

The only important excm^sion we made from Shanghai 
was to the Jesuit Mission of Sikkaw^i, twelve miles distant. 
Our excellent host, Mr. James Hogg, of the well-kno^vn firm 
of Lindsay and Co.,* and Consul for the Hanse towns, to 
whose gi'eat kindness we are deeply indebted, was so kind as 

♦ Mr. Hogg has since left that firm, and with his brother, Mr. Edward J. Hogg, 
has cstabUshed the firm of Hogg Brothers, in Shanghai. 

478 Voyage of the Novara. 

to order Ills pretty little yacht Flirt to be got ready for- 
our accommodation, and we set off, accompanied by the 
heroic Mr. Gray, of the American house of Russell and Co., 
who lost one foot while fighting against the Tai-ping rebels 
before the very gates of Shanghai. As the Europeans are in 
the habit of using these pleasure-boats as residences during 
their visit to the interior, so as not to be dependent upon the 
somewhat uncertain hospitality of the Chinese, they are 
provided with every accessory to comfort, being fitted with 
a neat cabin, a small library, boudoir, berth-cabin, &c. 
They usually carry an immense spread of canvas, and dur- 
ing calms are propelled like the native boats with one big 
oar from the stern, whicli serves at the same time as a rud- 
der. The sail up the Wusung, in which upwards of a hun- 
dred sail of merchantmen, and above a thousand junks, were 
lying at anchor, was very interesting. Many of the junks 
lying off the Catholic cathedral of Tonka-du displayed a flag 
with a white cross on a black ground, in token of the re- 
ligious faith of the crew. Here also we saw for the first time 
some Siamese ships, built in Siam, for the most part on Eu- 
ropean models. Of these we counted eleven. By way of 
ensign, they had an elephant rather nicely drawn, sometimes 
on a red, sometimes on a blue field, according to the fancy or 
the taste of the owner. These vessels have Siamese crews 
and English captains, and are armed with ten or twelve can- 
non, so that his Siamese Majesty can at a moment's notice 
use his little fleet of merchantmen for warlike purposes. 

Sail up the Wusung. — Chinese Canals. 479 

Tlie cliaimcl, 200 or 300 fathoms wide, wliicli unites the 
Wusung with the internal network of small rivers, is called the 
Wuang-Po, a designation which some authorities assume to 
be the name of its constructor, while others maintain tliat it 
is derived from tvong^ yellow, and applies to the colour of the 
water, just as Wliam-poa, near Canton, signifies the yellow 
anchorage. Nothing has so much contributed to that im- 
mense activity of commerce, which we marvel at among the 
Chinese, as their vast canal system, tlie introduction of which 
was pursued with such energy in the 7th century.* The 
innumerable artificial canals, with which the whole north of 
China is intersected, and which by their admirably planned 
system of arrangement unite all the lakes and navigable rivers 
of the Empire with each other, make it jDOSsible to voyage 
through every province of the Empire without having once 
to leave the boat. They atone for the great want of good 
roads, and even make the absence of rail-roads less percepti- 
ble in a country where the value of labour is so unprece- 
dentedly low. 

As soon as we leave Shanghai behind, with its immense 

* Under the Emperor Yang-ti of the Tsin dynasty, which filled the throne during 
the 6th century, more than 1600 miles of canals were partly constructed, partly re- 
built and repaired, the immense works being distributed among the soldiery and the 
inhabitants of the cities and villages. Each family was bound to furnish one man, 
between the ages of 15 and 20, whom the Government only found in provisions. The 
soldiers, on whom devolved the heaviest portion of the work, received higher pay. 
Some of these canals, which were the making of the commerce of the interior, and 
thus were of the utmost service to the welfare of the Empire, were forty feet wide, 
and were planted on either bank with elms and willows. 

480 Voyage of the Novara. 

commercial fleet, the scenery beyond becomes tame. The 
banks on either side are low, and far as the eye can reach 
not a single hill is to be seen, not even a rising slope — nothing 
but a flat alluvial soil, every inch of which seems diligently 
tilled, or otherwise made useful. 

After we had sailed several miles in the Flirt we came 
to a branch of the great canal, where we shifted into a 
smaller but not less elegant boat, the property of Mr. Grray, 
which drew less water, and in which we were to reach the 
Jesuit mission. At this season, however, owing to the low- 
ness of the water, navigation was only continued with great 
difficulty, and notwithstanding the astonishing dexterity with 
which our worthy Lau-tu (the old chief) conned our craft 
through the sharp bends of the river, we were at last com- 
pelled to halt, and perform the rest of the distance, about 
two miles, on foot. 

We now found ourselves strolling through fields planted 
with rice and cotton, through cabbage and vegetable gardens, 
occasionally even over graves, which rose in mounds here 
and there along our path. Sometimes in the distance we 
could descry small villages and solitary farm-houses. 

In Sikkaw^i we found about twenty Jesuits, French and 
Italians, all of genuine Chinese appearance, with heads half- 
shaved, long queues stretching to the ground, loose yellow 
clothes, and velvet shoes with thick cork soles. This had a strik- 
ing, almost theatrical effect. We were ushered into the recep- 
tion-room, and there offered refreshment. The conversation 

The Jesuit Mission at Sikkawci. 48 1 

soon became brisk, wliicli added to the singularity of the 
scene, as the seeming ChinesCj sitting in a circle round tlio 
table, and smoking perfumed tobacco out of small long- 
stemmed pipes, began, in fluent French or liquid Italian, to 
discuss Paris, Naples, Vienna, or politics and art. 

This Mission is supported by the Propaganda of Rome, as 
also by voluntary contributions. About 80 pupils, chiefly 
children of poor parents, are instructed in the Chinese 
language and literature, in reading, writing, arithmetic, and 
drawing, and in the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith ; on 
the other hand, little anxiety is manifested for their instruc- 
tion in French or English, or in providing them with any 
practical mechanical instruction. In this mode of education 
the main object seems to be to enable the students more readily 
to reach the highest offices in the state by imj)arting to them 
a thorough grounding in Chinese literature, and by these 
naeans to ensure for them religious influence and protection. 
Accordingly, strenuous efforts are made to increase the num- 
ber of scholars, and in order to facilitate this aim, as in the 
case of the Indians of Central and Southern America, their 
observance of various heathen rites is connived at, as, for ex- 
ample, the worship of their ancestors, the ceremonies at tlie 
death of a relation, &c. &c. 

One branch of art, - in which some of the scholars have, 
owing to their having naturally a turn for it, attained con- 
siderable proficiency, is wood-engraving. In the church at- 
tached to the Mission are shown a number of altar-ornaments, 
VOL. n. 2 1 

482 Voyage of the Novara. 

cliiefly figures very beautifully carved in wood, the work of a 
Jesuit of Spanish extraction/ whose talent and enthusiasm 
seem to have laid the foundation of this school of image- 
carvers. In what is called the model-room are numbers of 
figures and busts designed by the practised hand of the 
brother alluded to. Here too are some heads of the Saviour, 
very beautifully executed in clay by the Chinese scholars, as 
also Madonnas, busts of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and 
the Emperor Napoleon III. These are doubly extraordinary, 
when we remember the slight instruction and very scanty 
assistance bestowed on them while in course of execution ; 
their actual value however is small, for at present, as none of 
the Jesuits in the Mission have any very decided taste for the 
art, instruction in it has almost entirely ceased. 

The achievements of the present members of the Society of 
Jesus, in China, suffer greatly, measured by the standard of 
what was accomplished by their renowned brethren in pre- 
vious centuries ; one looks in vain for the high attainments, the 
self-sacrificing zeal, the practical talents of other times, and 
Sikkaw^i, with its present spiritual occupants, cannot leave a 
very pleasing impression on any unprejudiced Catholic. 
There is an utter lack of all those qualities which once formed 
the renown and the title to admiration of the Jesuits in China. 
One looks for, but fails to find, a library corresponding to the 
dignity of the Mission, or mathematical or medical instru- 
ments, or a chemical laboratory : in lieu of these there seem 
to prevail a deficiency of Christian toleration for these unmis- 

Catholic Intolerance. — Sedan- Chair Travelling. 483 

takeable adjuncts of true education and enlightenment. At all 
events, we judged as much from a remark made by the bro- 
ther who accompanied us round the building, wlio spoke some 
words in Chinese to tlie gaping crowd of long-tailed scholars, 
who kept pressing upon us, and then turning to us, observed 
in French, — " I have informed our puj)ils that our present 
guests are Roman Catholics, and therefore true Christians, 
because we occasionally have English visitors at the Mission, 
and they are heretics." Apparently the intolerant padre was 
reckoning without his host, for there were several Protestants 
among the party ! 

Throughout the province of Kaing-su there are at pre- 
sent 80,000 Chinese Catholics, that is to say, who profess 
Catholicism, though having but a very superficial idea of its 
spirit and its reality. 

In returning to our boat we availed ourselves of the mode 
of conveyance in most common use in China, the sedan-chair, 
or couch. The ordinary sedan-chair differs little in exterior 
form and interior arrangement from those still occasionally 
used in some of the out-of-the-way, old-fashioned towns, both 
of Germany and England. Owing to the extreme cheapness of 
labour, the least well-to-do classes of Chinese are able to avail 
themselves of these convenient conveyances, the use of which is 
doubly agreeable in such a hot climate. Indeed, long journeys 
are very frequently made by this mode of transport. As a 
rule, the sedan-bearers get over from twenty to twenty-five 
miles per diem, charging for that distance one dollar, in 


484 Vol/ age of the Novara. 

addition to their food, consisting of tea, rice, vegetables, and 
cakes. Baggage and merchandise of all sorts are conveyed 
by coolies, each canying with ease 110 catties^ equal to 146 lbs. 
With such a burthen he will trudge over lofty mountain 
passes, and without much effort will cover thirteen miles a 
day. If special dispatch is required, the burthen must be 
reduce! one-half, when the coolie, keeping at the trot, will 
get over double the distance in one day ; what is gained in 
speed being lost in power. 

On our return to Shanghai, we visited the celebrated six- 
storied Pagoda, Long-sah, which is traditionally said to have 
been erected about a.d. 250, during the period of the Three 
Empires. Of all the Pagodas hitherto known, not even ex- 
cepting the well-known specimen at Canton, it is the best 
preserved, and forms one massive, wide quadrangular tower, 
about 150 feet high, arranged in six stories, one of which has 
running around it a richly carved balcony. The pyramidal 
roof has turned-up angles, to which are suspended bells, which 
when agitated by the wind give forth their music. From 
the highest story, to which access is obtained by a stone stair- 
case, there is a rather agreeable, pretty extensive view over 
the country, and its cultivated surface, stretching away till, at 
200 miles from Shanghai, to the north and north-west, rises 
a range of mountains, of which of course not a glimpse is to 
be seen hence, the prospect in this direction having no defined 
limit. This panoramic view gives an excellent idea of tlie 
characteristics of a Chinese landscape, the various methods of 

Chinese Scenery. — Huge Invitation Cards. 485 

cultivation, the situation of the valleys, and, above all, the 
ceaseless tide of traffic, as evidenced by the almost innumer- 
able artificial water-channels which intersect the country in 
every direction. Quite close to the Pagoda is a Buddha 
temple, the well-known Lung-liw(5, erected a. d. 230. Of the 
seventy Buddhist and Taouist temples of the province this is 
the largest and most beautiful. The rear of the edifice is 
adorned with countless figures, sometimes of colossal dimen- 
sions, in wood, plaster, and porcelain, richly carved and gilt. 
There is also a female statue among these Chinese saints, the 
attitude strongly suggestive of a Madonna. 

This temple is plainly in connection with the Pagoda, 
and the various small chambers behind it seem to have been 
destined for the accommodation of priests and devout pilgrims. 
According to an old Chinese tradition this temple owes its 
erection to the following circumstance : — a queen from the 
south, who had anchored her boat one night In the Whampoa 
Channel near Wusung, suddenly beheld a light shoot up 
amid the tall grass^ and rise towards heaven, in consequence 
of which she gave orders for a temple to be built on the site. 

One of the most interesting episodes of our stay at 
Shanghai consisted in a genuine Chinese banquet, given by 
a wealthy native merchant, named Ta-ki, a warm friend of 
all foreigners, in honour of the Austrian Expedition. The 
huge invitation cards, wiitten, according to the usual practice 
of the country, in Chinese characters upon blood-red paper, 
and folded in envelopes of the same brilliant hue, were sent 

486 Voyage of the Novara. 

round to the residences of the guests some days before- 

At 8 P.M. the feast began. Ta-ki's house, like those of all 
the wealthy Chinese, is surrounded by a massive wall, six or 
seven feet in height, and painted white. After passing through 
a narrow gateway, the visitor finds himself at once in the 
usual apartments. These were adorned for the occasion with 
large coloured lanterns, which despite their numbers shed a 
mild and most agreeable light.* Along the walls, which were 
richly gilt, hung quantities of sententious native maxims, 
written with Indian ink, sometimes in Chinese characters, 
sometimes in Tartar, on white or yellow rolls of paper. The 
greatest attention appeared to have been paid to the prepara- 
tion of the reception-room, whose form was a rather narrow 
oblong, in which at the far end was erected a platform, 
where a strolling company acted Chinese theatricals. The 
musicians sat on the stage. The company belonged to one 
of those innumerable wandering troops which are engaged 
for a day or two now by the community, now by wealthy 
Mandarins, to give some theatrical representations, which it 

* These lanterns, often beautifully carved and otherwise adorned, are among the 
most characteristic furniture of a Chinese room. Into their manufucture enter not 
alone glass, horn, silk, paper, &c., but also the glutinous matter derived from a 
species of sea-tangle [Oigartina tenax — called by the Malays Agar-Agm-), with which 
the paper employed in covering the sides of the lantern is fastened on. In the 
silk and paper manufactures too this omnipresent Agar-Agar paste plays so important 
a part, that above 500 piculs at $2 a picul, are annually imported from the Indian 

A Chinese Feast. — Dramatic Representations. 487 

seems must in China form the accompaniment of every im- 
portant event, whether joyous or sorrowful. 

At tliose performances whicli are given in public, the 
multitude is admitted gratis, and of this privilege they avail 
themselves to the utmost. Each man selects the best seat for 
himself, on the street, in a tree, or on a roof. Mandarins, how- 
ever, and rich private individuals have their own little stage 
scenes in the interior of their usually spacious mansions, in 
which from time to time they have theatrical representations 
for the amusement of a small circle of friends. Some Manda- 
rins even go the length of having their own players, who 
receive regular annual pay, and form part of the household. 

Notwithstanding the very extensive collections of Chinese 
plays, with several of which the learned classes of Europe 
have been made acquainted by the valuable labours of 
Julien, Bazin, Remusat, and others, there are but a very few 
of true literary value. The plot of most of them is exceed- 
ingly simple, the actors themselves specify the characters 
they are to play ; between each scene there is usually a lack 
of connection, and frequently the most telling scenes and 
situations are marred by the most arrant trash, or the 
coarsest jests. Only a very small number of these rise 
above the level of the buffoonery of former ages, and judging 
by the accounts given by travellers, who have been present 
at such entertainments in even the large cities, including 
Pekin itself, the di-amatic art would as yet seem to be in 

488 ■ Voyage of the Novara. 

its infancy in China.* The company which was assembled 
in the hospitable mansion of Ta-ki, to clo honour to the 
members of the Novara Expedition, was not calculated to 
impress them favourably with the scope of the Chinese 
drama. The piece appointed consisted of events in the 
ancient history of China, for which Chinese dramatic poets 
have a special predilection, owing to the abundance of ma- 
terial from which to choose, although the multitude seem to 
have but little sympathy with it. Even our host, who spoke 
the Canton-English, as it is called, could give us but little 
explanation or enlightenment as to the plot, and contented 
himself with repeatedly remarking that the piece related to 
'' old, old times!" 

Notwithstanding the universal custom, according to which 
women are not permitted to enter a theatre, so that even the 
female characters have to be played by men dressed to repre- 
sent the part, the majority of the present troupe were girls of 
from 14 to 20 years of age, who, stained red or white, and 
elegantly arrayed, appeared mostly in Mandarin dresses on 
the stage. The most outrageously absurd of the scenes were 
those most in favour with the numerous domestics who, be- 
sides the invited guests, formed the audience. Thus, there 
was a roar of laughter when a nurse entered with a child in 
her arms, which had the face of an old soldier, with grey 
beard, whiskers, and moustachios. They sang a long, rather 

* Vide Hue's Chinese Empire, Vol. I. 

Private Theatricals. — A Chinese Interior. 489 

melancliolious ditty, and then retired, without there appear- 
ing to be the slightest connection between this and the fol- 
lowing scene. We noted the evident predilection of the 
Chinese actors for a higli-pitched falsetto tone of voice when 
speaking, which, by the way, must render their assumption of 
female parts much more easy, and on the present occasion 
they probably were desu'ous of giving us a specimen of their 
skill in this accomplishment. The music on such occasions 
is, if possible, even more discordant and monotonous than 
the delivery, and is not confined to merely accompany- 
ing the couplets, but continues to play during the intervals 
till the ear is utterly wearied. 

At the close of each act a large board covered with a red 
cloth was brought on the stage and placed beneath the feet 
of the actors ; on this the steward of the house placed a pre- 
sent for the trouj^e about four dollars' worth of copper cash, 
which was forthwith carried away. This was apparently 
the only intimation to most of the spectators that a piece was 
ended, and a fresh one about to begin. 

After these theatrical representations had lasted about an 
horn' and a half a long pause ensued. One longed to escajDe 
outside into the fresh air, to get rid of the wearying sensation 
of the performances, and the stifling heat which prevailed in 
the room. The guests were at liberty to walk without ob- 
struction through the various apartments of the extensive 
residence, and accordingly stumbled upon rooms which are 
usually, as it were, hermetically sealed to a foreigner, viz. 

490 Voyage of the Novara. 

the apartments of the women. Ta-ki carried his hospitality 
even this length, and presented us to his wives, as also to his 
grey-haired mother, seventy years old, for whom he showed 
the utmost love and respect. Ta-ki's wives, four or five in num- 
ber, had '' assisted " at the theatrical performances, each seated 
on elevated seats expressly prepared for them, and behaved 
with the greatest courtesy and ease of manner. They seemed 
not to have the slightest thought of showing off, or of tittering 
or joking with the strangers. All were attired in silk, and 
most tastefully decorated with jewels ; all had the usual pain- 
fully distorted small feet, which greatly interfered with their 
powers of locomotion. They did not attend at the banquet, 
but had their food served in the private apartments. 

For supper the quondam theatre was converted into a 
banqueting-hall. But there was no long wide table set out 
as in Europe, only small four-cornered tables covered with 
red cloth, at each of which three Europeans and one Chinese 
took their seats ; the duty of the latter being to do the hon- 
ours to his companions in the name of the host, who took 
his seat beside the Commodore, and to minister to their 

As it was the object to give us the most accurate idea pos- 
sible of a genuine Chinese repast, everything was eliminated 
which could in any way interfere with the design, and we 
had accordingly to begin with dessert and conclude with the 
soup, as also to convey the various descriptions of food to our 

Chinese Dinner and Social Usages. 49 1 

mouths with thin strips of ivory (''chop-sticks"), instead of 
knives and forks. 

The peculiarity of Chinese usages, so directly opposed to 
those of Europe, became likewise strikingly apparent in the 
course of the meal. And as in China the mark of courtesy is 
to keep the head covered instead of removing the hat, so the 
place of honour is on the left hand ; the ancestors are en- 
nobled instead of the descendants (which is at once more 
sensible and more economical); the characters in writing 
run from right to left instead of the reverse ; the mourning 
Golom* is white instead of black ; the natives carefully ex- 
tirpate every sign of a beard, instead of cherishing it as a 
symbol of mature, dignified manhood ; thus also meals begin 
with the food with which we terminate ours, confectionery 
and fruit. When we were all seated, each table was forth- 
with covered with a profusion of the most varied dishes on 
beautiful plates of stained porcelain, and while we were still 
engaged in attempting to discover the mysterious ingredients 
of these, the Chinese who was doing the honours at our table 
was exerting himself to select and lay before us the most 
dainty morsels of each dish. In performing this part of his 
functions he thought only to act with more care and atten- 
tion, in drawing each of the twain chop-sticks between his 
own lips and withdrawing them before he fished up a fresh 
piece and laid it on om' plate ! The dexterity with which all 
Chinese use these chop-sticks, which are usually made of 

492- Voyage of the Novara. 

ivory, ebony, or bamboo, borders on the marvellous. In their 
hands, held between their fingers, they become like a pair of 
pincers, with which they can pick up the smallest objects, 
and can eat rice-grains, beans, or peas as easily as they can 
separate the flakes of a fish from its skin, or remove the shell 
of a hard-boiled Q^g. 

As to the ingredients of the dishes presented, we must 
frankly avow that by far the greater number were utterly un- 
known to us, for the Chinese cuisine, oddly enough, sets great 
store on making the materials unrecognizable, and altering 
their natural flavour by various recipes and culinary mysteries. 
According to the inquiries which we made of our carver, our 
host seemed so anxious to fulfil to the letter his promise to 
give us a real Chinese repast, that he had resolved on not 
sparing us a single one of the rarer dainties of Chinese epi- 
cures. Thus we not only had swallows' nests, lapwings' eggs, 
and steamed frogs, but also roasted silkworms, shark-fins, stag 
and buff'alo tendons, biche-de-mar, bamboo roots, sea-weed, 
half-fledged chickens, and various other natural delicacies. 
The table was supplied at least three times with fresh delica- 
cies, and we believe we do not exaggerate when we estimate 
the number of different dishes at not less than half a hundred. 
Meat of all sorts was at a discount, and was served up in 
small morsels ready carved; * on the other hand, rice and veget- 

* The Chinese find it not less inexphcable that we use such murderous-looking 
instruments to divide and convey our food to our mouths, with which they think 
we must every moment be in danger of wounding our lips or putting our eyes out, 

Chinese Beverages. — Temperance a National Virtue. 493 

ables were presented in every imaginable form. During the 
meal one young girl, who had played a part in the dramas, 
was incessantly occupied with filling for each guest a very 
small cup with a warm beverage distilled from millet, thus 
carrying out the code of Chinese civility, that the cup should 
never be suffered to be empty, and therefore, that however lit- 
tle has once been drunk it must forthwith be replenished. Of 
the juice of the grape the Chinese make no use, although 
there are many districts in the country which are eminently 
adapted to the growth of the vine. All the native drinks con- 
sist of nothing but poor-flavoured, highly-perfumed drinks, 
chiefly distilled from millet and rice, and known by the 
general name of Samshoo, although this name is solely appli- 
cable to that obtained from rice, which somewhat resembles 
arrack. After the meal is over there are no spirits presented, 
but only tea, usually the common green tea, or else a tea pre- 
pared from almonds. The Chinese are, on the whole, a very 
temperate people, and even their passion for smoking opium 
is rather a vice among the masses of the coast provinces and 
the large towns, than of the interior of the kingdom. Dur- 
ing the banquet, as well as after it, there were further theatri- 
cal exhibitions, but the guests, who had been sufficiently 
wearied with the first of these, preferred to retu^e quietly to 

than that we should remove the bones from the flesh, or crack the shells of nuts and 
almonds, both which operations seem to them excessively absurd. In fact, it is no 
mere bon-mot which represents a Chinese gazing in astonishment at Europeans 
playing billiards, or nine-pins, waltzing, or " polking," and remarking, with an ill-con- 
cealed assumption of superiority, that wealthy people ought to leave such fatiguing 
things to be done by their servants I ! 

494 Voyage of the Novara. 

their own residences, and, seated in a rocking-chair on the 
delicious verandah, to recall all the peculiarities of the enter- 
tainment at which they had been present. 

The rites of hospitality to strangers were not, however, 
limited in fulfilment to Ta-ki, since the various consuls settled 
at Shanghai, as well as several of the English, American, and 
German merchants, invited the members of the Expedition to 
dinner-parties given in their honour, each vying with the 
rest in refined courtesy. An especially pleasant memory 
attaches to one indication of this feeling, the spontaneous 
offering of a number of Germans to our commander and his 
associates. We were sitting in the house of Mr. James Hogg, 
the Hanseatic Consul, when from the garden there suddenly 
arose a serenade of men's voices, singing German melodies. 
Surprised and deeply affected, the entire company rose from 
table and strolled into the garden, but the sercnaders were 
concealed behind a group of trees, and as they withdrew, sing- 
ing, the last cadence of a thrilling patriotic song was heard 
melting in the distance ! 

The Germans already constitute a by no means inconsider- 
able portion of the foreign community of China, and it is 
painful to observe what slender encouragement and support 
their energy and industry have as yet met with from the 
various governments of Germany. The number of Bremen 
ships which visited the harbour of Shanghai has of late years 
equalled that of the United States, and would be very greatly 
increased if the German mercantile community and the 

Necessity for an Armed Force to insure Resjyect. 495 

home-shippers to the Chinese market could depend upon pro- 
tection such as the English and French can rely upon. The 
German States, such, for instance, as the Ilanseatic Towns, 
Prussia, Oldenburg, have indeed unsalaried Consuls here, but 
the shrewd, material Chinese people require something more 
than an empty intercession — they require to be convinced by 
an unmistakeable physical ability to back these representatives. 
Many a crying injustice, which the helpless German mer- 
chants and ship-captains have to put up with without hope of 
redress in the various ports of China, would not and dare not 
occur if but a single German ship-of-war were stationed in 
Chinese waters. What the effect is, under similar circum- 
stances, of even one single small boat was well illustrated by 
Mr. Alcock, formerly the English Consul at Shanghai,* who 
with a small English brig blocked the mouth of the Yang-tse- 
kiang, and did not suffer one single "junk" of the many 
hundreds stationed in the river to put to sea under threat of 
firing into them until the Chinese Government had paid at- 
tention to his demands, and surrendered for trial by ah 
English tribunal the murderers of an English missionary. 
- The bare menace of closing the river sufficed to secure the 
Consul in his rights, and he speedily saw his various demands 
complied with. Only a month or two later a Bremen captain 
sustained such severe losses through the wilful act of the 
Chinese Government that he had to sell his ship, the energetic 
protest of his Consul to tlie native authorities meeting no 

* Since the well-known minister and envoy to Japan. 

496 Voyage of the Novara. 

other attention than an insulting chuckle over the power- 
lessness of the German empire. 

In consequence of the Treaty of Pekin securing to Eu- 
ropeans the unobstructed navigation of all canals and rivers 
throughout the Celestial Empire, the trade with China is be- 
coming so rapidl J developed, that some remedy of this sort is 
imperatively needed, — if German commerce and industry 
would avoid receiving a serious check, if she would not bo 
supplanted by other and more fortunate nations, in the en- 
deavom" to avail herself of the great alteration for the better 
in the facilities for trade in China. 

The activity and energy of the English in opening up new 
outlets for their native manufactures were here astonishingly 
visible. Hardly are the ratifications of peace exchanged, 
opening the most important rivers and harbours of the Em- 
pire to free commerce with the subjects of England, ere the 
country has been surveyed and explored in every direction. 
A number of English merchants ascended the Yang-tse-kiang 
as far as Hang-kow* (mouth of trade), a city containing several 
millions of inhabitants, which, in consequence of its extraor- 
dinarily advantageous site, has already been described by 
Hue as the chief emporium of the 18 Provinces, and whence 
all the foreign trade radiates into the interior. Others under- 
took a land journey from Canton to Hang-kow ; a third com- 
pany ascended the Pei-ho and visited Tien-Tsin, while yet 
a fourth were contemplating the formidable undertaking of 

* Since sacked by the Tai-ping rebels. 

Prospect of Commerce in China. 497 

boating- It up the Yang-tse-kiang from Shanghai to Hang-kow, 
whence they thought of penetrating via Thibet into British 
India.* Ah-eady information has been obtained from a 
variety of these excursions, which were undertaken specially 
in the interests of commerce, such as justify the most glowing 
expectations as to the trade with the Yang-tse-kiang and the 
Pei-ho.f Hang-kow promises to be a most important depot 
for the exportation of tea, while Tien-Tsin promises to be 
not less important as an entrepot for the importation of 
manufactures of every description. By the opening of these 
two additional ha.rbours, Shanghai and Canton will fall off 
in their ratio of increase hitherto, but general commerce will 
on the whole receive a new impulse. 

To the merchant and shipper, the latest intelligence from 
China as to the enormous development of commerce and 
trade at numerous spots of the Central Empire, hitherto undis- 
turbed by European civilization, must be positively astound- 
ing. It is a rich mine of the most valuable material, which 
the China Overland Trade Report and the North China Herald 
presents to its readers, rendered doubly valuable through 

* Abandoned after a large part of the course of the Yang-tse had been explored. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Sarel published lately a most interesting and valuable pamphlet 
on this expedition, of which he was the leader, under the title, " Notes on the River 
Yang-tse-kiang from Hankow to Ping-Shan. Hong-kong, Printed at Noronka's office." 

t Report of the deputation, appointed by the British Chamber of Commerce in 
Shanghai, on the commercial capabilities of ports and places on the Yang-tse-kiang 
visited by the expedition under Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope, K.C.B., in February 
and March, 1861. Supplement to the China Overland Trade Report of 28th Feb. 
and 27th May, IS61, and Supplement to the Overland China Mail, No. 237 of 12th 
June, 1861. 

VOL. II. « 2 K 

498 Vo?jage of the Novara. 

the influence of that Freedom of Speech, which makes 
every mercantile nation participate in the very latest in- 
formation as to these experiments and their results. For, so 
far as concerns our present direct intercourse with China, a 
time must come, when more accurate notions will penetrate 
into even Austrian commercial circles as to the wants of a 
pojDulation, and the natural wealth of an empire, which em- 
braces a suj)erficial area of 3,000,000 square miles, with a 
population of 400,000,000 souls, and whose entire foreign 
commerce already amounts to £36,000,000, apart from the 
impulse which recent events must lend it. 

Notwithstanding the immense variety of natural products 
of the Chinese Empire, the chief articles of export hitherto 
have been tea and silk, and we shall therefore confine our at- 
tention to a few important particulars as to those two articles. 

The introduction of silk cultivation into China, one of the 
most ancient industrial pursuits of the Empire, is due, if we 
are to believe a native legend, to the consort of the Emperor 
Hwang-te, who reigned b. c. 2640. The first mention of the 
mulberry tree and of silk occurs in the Schoo-kiu,* " the 

* According to Dr. W. H. Medhurst's translation of this rare work, for a copy of 
which, rescued from the last great conflagration at Canton, we are indebted to the 
kindness of Mr. Wylie, the portion especially referring to this runs as follows : 
" The mulberry ground having been supplied with silk-worms, the people descended 
from the hills and dwelt in the plains," (p. 91,) and further on, " their tribute baskets 
were filled with black silks and checkered sarsenets " (p. 96). See Ancient China, 

^±- /jrA -^4-^ The Shookin, or (he Historical Classic. Beintj the most ancient 

authentic Records of the Annals of the Chinese Empire. Illustrated by later com- 
mentators. Translated by Dr. W. H. Medhurst, Sen, Shanghai, 1846. 

/Silk-worm hreedinu and ^lalistics. 499 

Book of exalted solid learning — the Book of Books," as it 
were, a collection of the most ancient historical annals of tlic 
Chinese Empire, which was comj)iled b. c. 484, by Confucius, 
from the memoranda of former writers of history, as well as 
from the information furnished by ancient monuments. Even 
empresses in those halcyon times did not deem it beneath 
their dignity to collect mulberry-leaves and feed the silk- 
worms, while various treatises were composed by imperial 
pens, respecting the cultivation of that most useful plant. 
The interest taken in silk-rearing by these the highest per- 
sonages in the Empire, has remained unbroken to our own day, 
and quite recently a Chinese governor enriched the already 
copious, literature uj^on this subject with a comprehensive 
work, written with the laudable object of stimulating the in- 
habitants of the silk-producing districts to a more extensive 
and improved system of silk cultivating. 

The two best species of mulberry, those which are best 
adapted for the consumption of the worm, are : '' Loo " 
[Morus alba), with long leaves, little fruit, and firm roots, 
which flourishes chiefly in North China, and "King" (llorus 
nigra), with narrow leaves, more abundant fruit, and alto- 
gether a hardier plant, which grows chiefly in the South. 

According to old Chinese notions, there are eight different 
species of silk-worm, which spin their cocoons at various 
periods * of the year between April and November. 

* Thus Yuen-tschin in the third month (April of our calendar), Chay and Yuen in 
the fourth month (May), Gae-tschin in the fifth month (June), Sai in the sixth mouth 

2 K 2 

3oo Voyage of the Novara. 

The cliief silk districts lie in the northern part of the pro- 
vince of Tsche-Kiaug, and the principal silk marts are the 
following cities : Hoo-chow-foo, Hang-chow-foo, Keahing-fu, 
Nantsin, and Shoo-hing, which lie in a sort of semi-circle 
about 150 miles from Shanghai. 

The silk is not grown in China by wealthy landed proprie- 
tors, and "thrown" in hage establishments, but by millions 
of husbandmen, each of whom calls but a small patch of land 
his own, and plants it with mulberry trees, thus, like the bee, 
contributing his own share towards increasing the universal 
stock. During the season specially devoted to the silk- worm, 
old and young, lofty and lowly, throughout the silk districts, 
are busily and earnestly engaged night and day in tending 
the worms and winding off the silk. When the crop is being 
gathered in, the chief merchants send their agents to all parts 
of the chief silk districts, in order to collect and buy up these 
small quantities (varying greatly in value, as may be readily 
imagined), and depositing them in regularly assigned ware- 
houses, where they can be sorted according to quality. This 
done, the silk is packed in bales of 80 catties^ or about 106 lbs. 
weight, and conveyed to Shanghai for sale, where it is once 
more subjected in each mercantile house to the examination 
of the special '' silk Inspectors," or " Testers," after passing 
through whose hands, it is sorted according to quality for 
shipment to Europe. 

(July), Han-tschin in the seventh month (Angust), Sze-tschan in the ninth month 
(October), and Hau in the tenth month (November). 

Annual Silk Product of China. 501 

Three distinct qualities of raw silk are known in commerce, 
viz. Tsatli L + , Taysam Ty -^% (the big worm), andYuen- 
wha, or Yuen-fa |s| 'i^ (the flower of the garden). These 
three leading descriptions are again subdivided into a great 
number of sorts, which are usually known by the name of the 
trader, or his '' hong" (business). 

The annual production of silk in China is estimated to 
amount to from 200,000 to 250,000 bales, or from 20,000,000 
to 25,000,000 pounds' weight. This, however, is a very 
superficial estimate; that silk cultivation, however, must be 
enormously developed in China is obvious, not alone from 
the immense home consumption of the article, but also from 
the circumstance that, notwithstanding the immense increase in 
exports during the last ten years, the price of silk has not 
merely remained stationary, but is on an average absolutely 
less than at a period when barely one-fourth of the quantity 
now exported found its way to England and France. The 
price of silk is usually reckoned in Taels,* on the estimate of a 
bale averaging 100 lbs. English. Between Shanghai and 
London the bale loses on the average three per cent, in 
weight. There is also usually an allowance made of 15 per 
cent, for cost of transport and incidental charges from Shang- 
hai to any English port. 

On the average only one-fourth of the entire quantity of 

* The value of a tael, as already stated, varies from 6s. to 6s. 6d It is estimated 
that a bale of silk, until it is shipped at Shanghai for England, has cost from £80 
to £100sterUng. 

502 Voyage of the Novara, 

silk produced in China, or about 6,000,000 lbs., is exported 
annually, of which by far the largest quantity, perhaps as 
much as nine-tenths, goes to England and Erance. In 1843- 
44, the total export from all China was only 5100 bales. 
In 1859, the export of raw silk from Shanghai alone was 
75,652 bales ! 

Besides the raw silk there are annually exported from 
China a large quantity of silk-stuffs pianufactured in China, 
crape shawls, &c. &c., to the value of from £400,000 to 
£500,000, the majority of which find a market in the United 

The social condition of the Chinese silk-spinner, is not less 
deplorable and poverty-stricken than that of the workmen of 
Europe, who are similarly engaged in the preparation of this 
costly article of luxury. As in Lyons, in Spitalfields, or 
among the Silesian Mountains, the Chinese silk-weaver lives 
and dies in the most abject misery, and the delicate and 
beautiful fabrics of his loom are produced in a wretched hut 
of such mean dimensions, that he is sometimes compelled to 
dig a hole in the soil in order to find room for the treadle. 
However, the Chinese weaver appears in so far better off 
than the same handicraftsman in Europe, that he has 
less to dread from the severity of the climate, and can pur- 
chase more food, even though his remuneration be smaller, 
than the weaver can possibly do in Europe, owing to the 
much higher price of even the commonest necessities of life. 

The recent revolution in Chinese foreign relations will ex- 

Diference hettveen Chinese and European ratv (Allies. 503 

ercise a permanent influence on the silk culture of China, and, 
considering the exceedingly low rate of wages in that country, 
the time cannot be far distant, when one may purchase 
Chinese silk in Europe more cheaply than home-grown silk, 
when manufacturers will find it more profitable to purchase 
this most important raw material in China, than in Italy or 
the South of France. Acute business-men in Hong-kong and 
Shanghai assured us that it only needed an impulse from with- 
out to increase the silk manufacture of China tenfold, and sup- 
ply the annual demand for silk of the entire globe, which, if 
we are to believe encyclopedias and such like authorities, 
amounts to from 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 lbs. What makes 
Chinese silk especially suitable for the European market is its 
possessing in great perfection the two chief qualities of sub- 
stance and colour, while, on the other hand, it is inferior to 
that of Europe in the fineness and glossy feel of its fibre. In 
Europe the silk is wound off from a limited number of 
cocoons, whereas in China it is left to the discretion of the 
workman to spin it from few or many cocoons as he pleases. 
Hence results that inequality and unevenness in the texture 
of the thread, a defect which cannot possibly be remedied 
by after-manipulation, and which accordingly completely pre- 
vents its employment in the manufacture of the more costly 
fabrics. This drawback, which is the main reason why 
Chinese silk does not rule the European market, will how- 
ever admit of being remedied without any difiiculty, so soon 
as the silk districts become more easily accessible, by the 

504 Voyage of the Novara. 

introduction of European labour and machinery, wlien this 
valuable and costly product will gain materially both in fine- 
ness and suitability. 

Only a few years since German and Austrian merchants 
attached but a small value to Chinese silk as suited to our 
market, and it seemed to them a positive absurdity, when 
any one spoke, as we ourselves repeatedly have done from a 
profound conviction of its truth, of the future influenco 
exercised over the silk markets of the world by the influence 
of this Chinese raw material. Now-a-days we hear that 
there is scarcely one single silk factory which can hold its 
ground, unless, in addition to French and Italian silk, it 
imports Chinese silk, while the demand for that material in- 
creases from year to year, and has very probably not yet 
attained the one-hundredth part of the development of 
which it is susceptible. 

Tea (Chd*) ranks next to silk among the articles which 
have raised the trade with China to sucli an importance. 
The cultivation of the tea plant is of far later date than that 
of the mulberry tree, and its leaves, although used by the 
Chinese as a curative from the third century of our era, only 
came into general use, as providing a universal di'ink, towards 
the end of the sixth century. f Statesmen and poets sounded 

* The word Cha is, however, used by the Chinese to designate not the tea plant 
alone, but every description of Camelia. 

f Arabian travellers who visited China in the 9th century, a.d. 850, speak thus 
early of tea, as of a beverage in universal use. According to Kampfer tea was intro- 
duced from China into Japan about A. D. 519, by a native prince named Daeme, who, 

" The Cup that cheers hut not inehr latest 505 

the praises of the new beverage, and while the one employed 
this excellent and beneficial gift of nature to fill the treasury 
by the imposition of a tax, the others chanted the praise of 
the plant in their hymns and songs, and thus, probably with- 
out intending it, contributed to increase the revenue of the 

'' Tea," writes one of the older Chinese authors, '' soothes 
the spirit, softens the heart, dispels languor, restores from 
fatigue, stimulates the intellect, and arouses from indolence ; 
it makes the body lighter and more brisk, and quickens the 
faculty of observation." 

Tlie tea plant first attracted the attention of Chinese 
naturalists in Wu-yi, or, as the English term it, the Bohea * 
district, which enjoys to this day a great reputation for the 
exquisite quality which grows on its hills. 

At present the cultivation of tlie tea plant extends north- 
ward as far as Tang-tschao, in the province of Shantung, 
southward as far as Canton and Kuang-si, and westward as 
far as the province of Yun-nan. As, moreover, the tea plant 
likewise abounds in Japan, the Corea, and the Loo-Choo 
Islands, as also in Chusan, Tonquin, and Cochin China, we 
may assume that it flourishes over about 28° of latitude and 

during his residence in China, had learned its invakiable properties. The Japanese, 
however, do not drink their tea as an infusion, but grind the leaves into powder, 
pour hot water upon them, and stir them with a bamboo-stick tiU they are thoroughly 
mingled together, when they swallow the decoction and the powder together, as is 
done with coffee in some parts of Asia. 

* The term " Bohea " is in fact only a corruption of the Chinese Wu-yi, which 
again is derived from Wu-i-kien, a well-known Chinese divinity. 

5o6 Voyage of the Novara. 

30° of longitude, within which it can be cultivated without 
being affected by severe alternations of temperature. That 
part of North China, however, which lies between 27° and 
33° N., seems on the whole to furnish the finest sorts,* where 
the mean annual temperature ranges between 61°. 7 and 68°, 
and in which fine weather with a rise of temperature follows 
upon a heavy, rain-fall ; the latter being as necessary for the 
speedy and luxuriant growth of the leaves, as the former is 
for eliciting their fragrance and other valuable qualities. 

To form an idea of the enormous amount of tea which is 
annually cultivated in China, it suffices to remark that, after 
deducting the immense quantity consumed, there are more 
than 70,000,000 lbs. exported annually. 

It is not our intention to give a disquisition upon the cul- 
tivation and preparation of the tea, the drying {poey), roast- 
ing (tschoo), perfuming and colouring of the leaves, in short, 
the long tedious process to which this valuable article of com- 
merce is subjected from its collection on the fertile green 
slopes of the bush-covered hills of Bohea, till its arrival at 
the port of shipment in a form suited for exportation. We 
prefer here to confine our attention to a consideration of 
those experiments which have recently been made in China 
with respect to tea cultivation. 

There are of the tea plant an almost endless variety of 

* In Java, where the tea plant has been cultivated for a series of years, the moun- 
tain region from 4000 to 5000 feet above the sea, and with an average temperatm-e of 
from 58°. 1 to 73°. 7, Fahr., has been found best adapted for the growth of the plant. 

Black Tea^ and its first Introduction. 507 

qualities, but only two species, viz. Thea viridis (green tea), 
and Thea Bohea,* and even these two liav^e such few points of 
difference, that quite lately they were described by Fortune 
as one and the same species. Thus, too, it has been asserted 
in our own day that the green and black varieties of tea sold 
in Europe do not, as is universally supposed, belong to two 
different species of tea, but that the difference of colour, shape 
of leaf, flavour, &c., is exclusively due to varieties in the 
mode of preparing them for the market, and that the manu- 
facturer is able to make from the leaves every description, 
black or green, which is required in commerce. Thus in the 
celebrated tea district of Ning-tschan, where in former days 
black tea was exclusively grown, there is now procured green 
tea from the same species of plant, apparently because its 
cultivation pays better, while the quality remains in its 
olden repute. 

The black tea, which constitutes four-fifths of the entire 
export to England, is grown of a particularly fine quality in 
the district of Kien-ning-foo in the province of Fo-kien, and 
is known to commerce by a variety of names, chiefly derived 
froTQ the localities in which it is gi'own, or those of their pro- 
prietors. On the other hand, the green sort selected for 

* The first scientific arrangement of the tea plant according to dried specimens was 
made in 1753 by LinTueus, who in his Sj}ecies Plantarum included among these one 
species, which he called Thea Sinensis. But by the time the second edition of his 
renowned work made its appearance in 1762, Linnaeus found himself compelled to 
make two species of it, and to assign them the names by which they are known to 
the present day. The first living tea plant was brought to Europe in October, 1763, 
by a ship-captain named Ekeberg, and planted in the Botanic Garden of Upsala. 

5o8 Voyage of the Novara. 

exportation is chiefly met with on the slopes of the chain of 
hills between Che-kiang and Ngan-hwui. Besides those de- 
scriptions actually prepared on the spot where they grow, 
there are also an immense variety of teas manufactured in 
Canton from all sorts of black and green tea. The tea- 
growers of Canton are reputed to colour their green teas arti- 
ficially, by sprinkling them with a mixture of Prussian blue 
and pulverized chalk, after which they subject them to a roll- 
ing motion for a considerable time in heated copper pans.* 

One most important element in tea cultivation is the method 
adopted to impart a certain bloom, an artificial fragrancy, 
which it does not possess in the natural state. This process 
of '' scenting," as it is called, which is practised exclusively 
for the foreign market, is termed by the Chinese Hiva-hiang. 
The flowers which are used for imparting this fi^agrance, and 
the growth of which, like the invisible fields of odoriferous 
herbs near Cannes, in the South of France, forms a most im- 
portant branch of cultivation near Canton, are chiefly Jasmi- 
num smnbac, Jasminum paniculatmn, Aglaia odorata, OleafragranSy 
Sardenia florida, orange-blossom, and roses. The method of 
^' scenting " consists simply in placing a definite quantity of 
the flower-blossoms, varying according to the strength or 
feebleness of the odour, in juxta-position with about 100 lbs. 
of dried tea leaves, where they are suflered to remain from 24 

* According to Fortune ("A Residence among the Chinese." London, 1857. Mur- 
ray), the various sorts of tea have added to them from two to four spoonfuls of a mixture 
in which the plant ma-ki-hohj largely enters, as also indigo and pulverized gypsum, 
in order to increas e the green tinge of the leaves. ; 

Mode of '■'■ sccntmg " Tea. 509 

to 48 hours. Thus 40 lbs. of orange-blossom, 50 lbs. of 
Jasmin, 100 lbs. of Aglaia odorata, are reckoned the equivalent 
respectively of 100 lbs. of tea-leaves. The extraordinary 
costliness of these fragrant blossoms * has caused a very ge- 
neral suspicion to prevail, that the leaves thus '' scented" are 
afterwards adulterated with large quantities of the common 
teas. And as it is an ascertained fact that 60 lbs. of such tea 
can impart a similar fragrance to 100 lbs. additional by merely 
mixing the two together, without any apparent diminution of 
fragrance, it seems more than probable that similar admix- 
tures, very possibly in a still more profitable proportion, are 
being silently carried on every day in the warehouses of the 
tea districts. 

Since the suppression of the East India Company's mono- 
poly, and the opening of the Five Ports, tea has somewhat 
fallen in price, but has in consequence gained in far greater 
ratio in respect of quantity shi2:>ped. The value of a picul of 
tea is at present about 18 or 20 taels (£5 12^. 6 J. to £6 5^.), 
so that the pound costs Is. \d. to \s. 2d. Notwithstanding 
the unexampled cheapness of hand labour (60 to 70 cash, or 
2\d. to 3t7., per diem), it is not possible to procure good tea be- 
low this limit, although the various descriptions vary extra- 
ordinarily in price according to their quality and the districts 
they come from. The lower classes in the tea districts pur- 
chase for themselves the raw unprepared leaves just as they 

• A picul, 133^ lbs., of these leaves costs on the average 15 to 18 dollars, though it 
occasionally ranges as high as 30 dollars. 

5IO - Voyage of the Novara. 

are plucked, for about \d. per pound, and as it takes about 
4 lbs. of the fresh leaves to make 1 lb. of dry leaves, it may 
be calculated that the tea, as drunk by this class, must cost 
from 4f/. to 5t/. per lb. Moreover, it is customary to add 
some of the less costly descriptions, more especially in dis- 
tricts at some little distance where the tea plant is culti- 

The first historical document referring to the introduction 
into England of tea as a beverage, is an Act of Parliament 
in the year 1660 (the year of the Restoration). At that ^30- 
riod China tea cost sixty shillings the pound, vv^hich of course 
limited its use to a very narrow circle. At present there are 
30,000,000 lbs. imported into England * annually, or more 
than one-half of the entire export from the Central Empire, 
the consumer in London paying about 3^. per pound on the 

Of late years attempts have been made -to cultivate the 
tea plant at the foot of the Himalayas, in Java, and in the 
United States. In Hindustan, whither only a few years ago 
that well-known and enlightened gentleman, Mr. Robert For- 
tune, dispatched 24,000 plants, selected from among the finest 
tea districts, the experiment has already proved successful, 
and even remunerative. The cost of growing is about lOJc?. 

* In the year 1859, the exports into England were 30,988,598 lbs. (viz. 22,292,702 
lbs. black, and 8,695,896 lbs. green), out of a total export of 55,325,731 lbs. Within 
the same period 19,952,147 lbs. went to the United States, 1,879,584 lbs. to Australia; 
to Hong-kong, and other ports along the coast of China, 1,261,347 lbs. ; to Montreal, 
510,600 lbs., and to the entire continent of Europe 736,455 lbs. 

Possibiliti/ of Tea Cultivation in America, 511 

per lb. for one description, which fetches 25. per lb. in the 
London market. Tliat grown in Java has hitherto been 
viewed with disfavour in Europe, but in a few years more it 
must make its way. The result of the experiments in the 
United States we liave yet to learn. Mr. Fortune, who was 
intrusted by the Patent Office at Washington with superin- 
tending the introduction of the tea cultivation into the South- 
ern States, and who in vii'tue of many years' scientific 
researches in China may be regarded as an authority upon 
this subject, is of opinion that the possibility of cultivating 
tea in the United States does not admit of a doubt, since the 
plant not only successfully resists frosts, but even, in a mea- 
sure, benefits by them, it being a well-known fact that it 
flourishes better in the northern than the southern climates of 
China. It is questionablcj however, whether its cultivation 
can prove remunerative in a country where labour is still so 
exceptionally high. Will the tea plant repay the immense cost 
of cultivation, and compete successfully with the product of 
China ?, The next few years will settle this question, if it be 
not choked by this unholy fratricidal war, which is raging 
within the freest and ^most glorious confederacy of modern 

We enjoyed the good '^ fortune" while at Shanghai of becom- 
ing personally acquainted with Mr. Fortune, and of gathering 
these valuable particulars from the very lips of that distin- 
guished naturalist and traveller. While reserving for consider- 
ation elsewhere the subject of various little known, but most 

512 Voyage of the Novara, 

important, articles of export from the vast Empire of China, 
we cannot refrain from indulging in a few remarks upon some 
useful products of that country, which seem to us of more 
than merely commercial importance. Among these we shall 
notice first one of the most valuable rewards bestowed by Na- 
ture on human industry, the so-called Chinese sugar-cane 
(^Sorghum, or Holciis saccharatus), which deserves the earnest 
attention of all European proprietors of land, as it grows in 
its native country quite in the northern districts, in fact 
in latitudes where the ordinary cane [Saccharum officinale) no 
longer flourishes ; because frost and cold are much more con- 
ducive to its growth than the opposite extreme, so that it 
would seem to be specially adapted for cultivation in South- 
ern Europe. 

The first attempt to cultivate this cane in Europe was made, 
if we are rightly informed, at the Hyk-es islands by Count 
David de Beauregard, from seeds which M. de Montigny had 
sent home to the Geographical Society of Paris, while other 
attempts were made at the same time in various parts of 
France by the Societe t/' Acclimatisation. The results surpassed 
the most sanguine expectations. From the stem there was ob- 
tained a juice from which sugar and alcohol, syrup and 
brandy, can be easily made. The abundant leaves, five or 
six feet long, furnished a considerable quantity of cattle with 
most nutritive food ; the seeds were used as food for poultry, 
and were even substituted with advantage for barley in the 
provender supplied to horses, so that the experiment at once 

Cultivation of the " Sorgho." 313 

repaid its cost, while in addition to the foregoing, the flour ob- 
tained from the seeds was found to furnish a highly nutritive, 
wholesome article of diet for man. Dr. Adrian Sicard, to 
whom the agricultural world is indebted for a very exhaus- 
tive analysis of the Chinese sugar-cane, has established, by 
conclusive researches, that its leaves are also specially adapted 
for the manufacture of paper, as well as for various colours 
or dye stuffs. As to the remunerative value of the Sorgho ^ 
it is more than 230 per cent, more j^roductive than beet-root, 
which in France produces on the average 2160 kilogrammes 
per hectare, while the Sorgho makes a return of 5000 kilo- 

The mode of cultivating this useful plant differs in no re- 
spect, as we repeatedly had occasion to observe, from that of 
maize or Indian corn. The season for sowing varies with the 
temperature of the country, between the months Aj)ril and July. 
The seed when sown in the beginning of April will be ripe 
about the middle of August, or in 135 days, while that sown 
in mid- July will not be ripe before the end of November, or 
about 140 days. In France the experiment has been made 
of bathing the seeds in tepid water for periods varying JBrom 
24 to 48 hours before sowing, which resulted in a much more 
speedy bringing forward of the plant. In like manner ex- 
periments were made of sowing the seeds with and without 
their husk, the result of which was that the former took 15 

days, and the latter only 10 days to sprout. It is recom- 
■voL n. 2 L 

514 Voyage of the Novara. 

mended to plant tlie seeds in furrows sufficiently separated 
from each other according to the conditions of soil and irriga- 
tion, so far as is possible. 

The period of germination of the Sorgho is rather long, but 
once that period is passed, the most favourable results are 
sure to follow, even should the most unusual alternations of 
temperature ensue, provided the thermometer does not de- 
scend below 27°. 5 Fahr. The Sorgho requires about five 
months to attain its full ripeness, when it is usually of a 
pale-yellow colour, streaked with red. It is occasionally 
subject to diiferent maladies, some of which attack the root, 
others the pith. In like manner the larvae of certain noxious 
insects have been remarked on occasional specimens. But 
the origin of all these drawbacks has been as yet far too little 
inquired into, and they are of too rare occurrence to permit 
of any definite information respecting them being as yet 

On the whole, the cultivation of the Sorgho may be re- 
garded as eminently successful in the South of France, as 
well as in Pennsylvania, U. S. (which has a much severer 
climate than Venetia, Dalmatia, or the lower course of the 
Danube). Very probably we may also succeed in naturaliz- 
ing the Sorgho in suitable parts of Austria, and introducing 
there the cultivation on a commensurate scale* of a plant, 

* Some experiments on a small scale were made with the Sorgho at Aquileia near 
Gorz, by M. Karl Ritter, a well-known merchant and sugar refiner, of Trieste. We 
were shown samples of refined sugar, extracted from the Sorgho, which promised 

Unfounded Rumour of a New Sjjecies of Potato. 515 

which bids fair not merely to prove far more profitable in 
cultivation than any other member of the vegetable kingdom 
in any part of the earth, but at the same time seems destined 
at no distant period to be the means of supplying the civilized 
world with one of its most vitally necessary articles of food, 
by means of free white labour, without the assistance of 
slavery !* 

Another plant, which it seems likely might be advan- 
tageously introduced into the southern districts of Europe, is 

the best results. A large quantity of seeds which were sent a year ago to one of the 
members of the Novara Expedition by M. de Montigny, had been made use of to 
institute a series of experiments in cultivation, in those parts of the Empire, the 
climatic concUtions of which promised to be most favourable for the growth of the 

* During our stay at Shanghai we also made inquiries as to an alleged new species of 
potato, concerning which there have been current for years such contradictory accounts 
in the European and American journals, that the foreign community of Shanghai was 
beset with inquiries from all parts of the world, begging for more accurate information 
as to this newly-discovered tuber, which promised to supply a much-needed substitute 
for the apparently effete, worn-out, disease-smitten potato of Peru. No one, how- 
ever, could furnish us with the slightest information on the subject, and ultimately 
it became apparent that the rumours hitherto current were founded on an eiToneous 
impression. It would seem, according to the opinion of Mr. Fortune, that the rumour 
first arose from mistaking for a new sort of potato, the CaUadmm escidcntum, w hich 
is quite commonly exposed for sale in the streets of Shanghai, and the small tubers 
of which, both in flavour and external appearance, resemble those of the potato, 
when, without taking the slightest fm-ther trouble to inquire into the matter, the 
pretended new discovery, fi*aught with such important results for the poorer classes, 
was duly trumpeted to the entire world. In no part of China hitherto accessible was 
there at the time of our visit any other description of potato in use than the common 
Peruvian. Officers of the English and American navies, who at the time of the first 
Peace of Tien-Tsin were eating potatoes in the Gulf of PetcheU, assured us that 
they were precisely identical with those that have so long been acclimatized in 
Europe. Of edible tubers there are at Shanghai, besides potatoes, the yam {Dioscorca 
sp.) and the Yucca {Jatrophu sp.). 


5 1 6 Voyage of the Novara. 

the Mo-chokj one of the most graceful kinds of bamboo found 
in the forests of China, which grows in greatest luxm-iance on 
the limestone slopes of the province of Tschi-Kiang, in a 
climate ranging between 90^.5 in summer, and 20°. 3 (Fahr.) 
in winter. The erect, smooth, elegant stem shoots up to a 
height of from 60 to 80 feet. The lower part of the tree is 
usually free from branches, which usually begin to spring 
from the trunk about 20 feet from the ground, and are 
very delicately leaved. These and two other species, the 
Long-sin-cJiok and the Ilu-choJc^ are used in the manufac- 
ture of sieves, baskets, furniture, &c., while the tender 
shoots form a most nutritious and delicately flavoured ve- 
getable. The stem of the plant is moreover available for the 
manufacture of paper.* 

Writing paper is manufactured from it as well as packing 
paper, and one very coarse quality is mingled with the 
mortar by the Chinese masons. Mr. Fortune has introduced 
the Mo-chok into China, where, especially in the north-west 
provinces, it promises to come on well upon the slopes of the 

Of the other plants which grow in Cliina, which are not 
indeed suited for transplanting to a colder climate, yet merit 

* The following is the process as we observed it: the bamboo strips are first 
soaked for a considerable period in water, after which they are peeled, and again 
saturated with lime-water, until they are perfectly flexible. After this, they are 
converted, according to the method in use at that special locality, either by water 
power or hand labour, into a fluid of a pap-like viscosity, after which it is boiled till 
it has attained the requisite fineness and consistency for conversion into paper. 

The Varnish and Tallow Trees. 5 1 7 

attention on account of their produce, we sliall briefly notice 
tlie varnish tree, the tallow tree, and the wax shrub. 

The varnish tree ( Vernix vernicia\ a sort of sumach, which 
grows in greatest luxuriance in the provinces of Kiang-sl, 
Chi-kiang, and Sze-chuen, furnishes that varnish which, partly 
in a semi-fluid, partly in a dry state, comes to market in 
whitish cakes, and is worth, according to quality and demand, 
from 40 to 100 dollars per picul of 133 lbs. In the prepara- 
tion of this lacquer, the reputation of which has extended over 
the globe, 6f lbs. varnish, 13 J lbs. water, 41 f lbs. nut-oil, 
16| lbs. of pigs' gall, and 33 J lbs. of vinegar, are mixed to- 
gether till the whole assumes the consistence and appearance 
of a shining black paste. The fact that many Cliinese lac- 
quered wares, especially those prepared in Foo-chow, vie with 
the renowned manufactures of Japan in beauty and lustre, 
leaves room to suspect that the Cliinese workmen have received 
some instruction from their Japanese fellow-craftsmen. 

Vegetable tallow {Schulah, or Scku-kuu, tree fat) is ob- 
tained from the Stillingia sehifera, the so-called tallow tree, 
and, judging by the experiments made with it, promises 
under an extended system of cultivation to become a toler- 
ably profitable article of export. The tallow tree flom-Ishes 
throughout the southern provinces, but Is chiefly found in 
the Island of Chusan and the coasts adjacent. The tallowy 
substance procured from the seeds, which externally resemble 
nuts. Is sold In cakes of from 90 to 130 lbs. at from 7 to 12 

5 1 8 Voijage of the Novara. 

Vegetable or tree wax {peJi-lah) is a waxy substance, which 
tlie coccus pela ov flata limitata deposits, apparently as a pro- 
tection to its egg's, on a sort of ash tree, on whose twigs and 
boughs it is deposited like snow-flakes. It is gathered after 
the first frost, and purified by melting it in a cloth held over 
hot water. Apparently the process is varied by dipping 
what has been collected in a silken sack into hot water. It 
melts at 81° Fahr., and in consequence of its unusual stiffiiess 
is much used for admixture with bees -wax and other de- 
scriptions of fats used in the manufacture of tapers. The 
candles hitherto made in England of this substance have 
commanded a large sale, and only the circumstance that as 
yet but a small quantity has found its way into commerce, 
prevents its being much more extensively cultivated. The 
price of Peh-lah is rather high, as it fetches about £11 \0s. 
per 133 lbs. 

Passing from the various natural products furnished for 
export by China to a consideration of those articles* of 
European industry, for which the Chinese market supplies 
an ample demand, we find that their number is considerable, 
while they represent a value of upwards of £5,000,000. In 
these pages, however, we propose to notice only that article 
which is the most profitable, and undoubtedly forms the chief 
staple of import in all the harbours opened to foreign com- 
merce, viz, opium. Opium (a-pien), the solidified sap of 

* These consist chiefly of cotton and woollen goods of every description, steel 
cutlery, iron-ware, glass, clocks, watches, musical clocks, tin-ware, &c. 

Generally abstemious Character of the Chinese. 5 1 9 

Papaver somnifcrum, was, as every one knows, up to quite a 
recent period, a monopoly of the Anglo-Indian Government, 
by whom it was cultivated under the superintendence of 
agents in the various provinces of Hindostan, and sold to the 
trade by public auction in large quantities at a time in the 
markets of Calcutta and Bombay. It seems to fulfil among 
the Chinese the function of the various spirituous liquors of 
Europe; at least every attempt to introduce among the 
Chinese a taste for ale, whisky, sherry, port, champagne, and 
claret, has hitherto entirely failed. Indeed there is pro- 
bably no country of the globe where, in proportion to popula- 
tion, there is so little spirituous liquor introduced as into China, 
what is imported being almost exclusively for the consump- 
tion of foreigners. The Chinese is emphatically a born ''tee- 
totaller," or friend of abstemiousness, for the native drinks, 
substitutes for wine, which are obtained chiefly from rice 
and millet, are only used on special occasions, and then only 
in small quantities. During oiu' entire stay in Chinese 
waters, we never saw one single Chinese drunk, and heard in 
every quarter that any such cases are rare and quite excep- 
tional. On the other hand, the consumption of opium is 
continually increasing, and the quantity of solidified poppy- 
juice annually imported amounts to from 75,000 to 80,000 
chests, which at current rates represent a value of from 
£7,500,000 to £10,000,000. There are four descriptions of 
opium that come to the Chinese market, viz. Benares {Ku- 
ni), Patna (Kwij-ni), Malwa (Peh-pi), and Tm'kish {Kiii-ni 

520 Voyage of the Novara. 

or golden dung). Of these the Patna and Benares are 
reckoned of finer quality, and consequently are more sought 
after, than that imported from Malwa, but both descriptions 
are preferred by the Chinese to the Turkish, and even to that 
produced at home.* 

The custom of opium-smoking is of comparatively modern 
introduction among the Chinese. It was about the com- 
mencement of the 18th century, f that the practice of 
mingling opium with tobacco as an antidote against tooth- 
ache, headache, and pains in the body first began to prevail. 
Chinese sailors and merchantmen, returning from the islands 
of the Bomese Archipelago, had learned from the natives to 
inhale it as an anaesthetic, which, dej^riving them of all 
activity, brought the most delightful visions before their eyes. 
It is unquestionably the prohibition of wine to the believers 
in the Koran which first directed their attention to this nar- 
cotic substance, which the Western Asiatics swallow in pills, 
the Hindoos chew, and the Chinese smoke. In 1750, there were 
imported into China from Turkey,' Persia, and Bengal, chiefly 
by Portuguese merchants, some 200 to 250 chests according 
to official return (of 140 lbs. each), ostensibly for medical use. 

* The quantity of home-grown opium, chiefly produced in the province of Yun-nan, 
cannot be accurately ascertained, as the returns are not made at certain points ; but 
the quantity must fall far short of the amount imported from India. 

t According to MacCuUoch's Commercial Dictionary, opium had been introduced 
into China and India by the commencement of the 16th century by Mahometan mer- 
chants, and it sounds like an apology when the learned and patriotic author, in 
treating of the part taken by England in the much-to-be-lamented traffic in this 
noxious drug, adds by way of palliation—" A century and a half before the English 
had anythinij whatever to do with its cultivation." — (Latest edition, p. 939.) 

opium — Importation into China. 521 

Notliing could be more welcome to the entire Empire than a 
moans of passing the intervals of relaxation from the hurry of 
business, in a state of absolute exemption from all anxiety, 
rocked in the most delightful slumbers ! In 1773 the East 
India Company sent a small portion of opium to China by 
way of speculation. Seven years later they founded an Opium 
Depot In Larke's Bay. In 1781 the Comj^any sent 2800 
chests (of 140 lbs. each) at one single shipment to Canton, 
where it was purchased by a '^ Hong," or Association,* for 
trading pm-poses. The Company found itself compelled, 
however, to re-export a quantity, as at that period tliere was 
not in China a sufficient demand for such a supjjly. The 
first regular shipments began in 1798, when 4170 chests 
were sent to the account of the Association in China, and 
then sold at Rs. 415 (about £41 10^.) per chest.f Since 
that period the import and consumption have been steadily 
increasing at a geometric ratio, and a table now before 

* Only a certain number (originally twelve) of wealthy Chinese merchants, 
" Hong," were permitted by law to trade with foreigners at Canton. They had not 
only to account to Government for all duties and taxes, but were likewise responsible 
for the good behaviour of the strangers ! 

t It is a coincidence worthy of notice, that simultaneously with the rise of the 
opium trade with China, the importation of slaves into America began to increase, 
and that European commerce in these two infamous traffics seemed to be ever in- 
creasing and gaining ground in Eastern Asia and in America! At the end of last 
century the number of slaves in the Southern States of the Union was little greater 
than that of opium-smokers in China : at present the number of the former is about 
4,000,000, and the latter may be put at about the same figure ; the latter, slaves of 
their own intemperate passions, — the former, of the covetousness and cold calculating 
selfishness of their masters. The opium question and the slave question — these 
two seem destined to be solved simultaneously ! 

522 Voyage of the Novara. 

US, drawn vi^ with great labour and industry by Dr. Med- 
liurst, informs us that between 1798 and 1855 there 
were imported altogether 1,197,041 chests of opium from 
Bengal, which, after deducting all expenses of cultivation and 
shipment, represented a net gain to the East India Company 
of £67,851,853.* 

Relying on the splendid profits secured to the East India 
Company, and its colleagues settled in China, by the opium 
traffic, no one troubled himself in the slightest with the many 
protests of the Chinese Government, any more than the ana- 
themas ijiunched at opium dealers and opium smokers by 
English missionaries and philanthropists. The dealers, 
growing richer day by day, contented themselves with 
laconic replies to the more virulent of their antagonists, to 
the effect that they were but supplying a want originating in 
a national custom, and that it was as futile to attempt to 
prevent the Chinese from smoking as to restrain Europeans 
from the use of spii'ituous liquors. Both when abused are 
productive of much evil, and even then opium was productive 
of far less destructive ravages on the human organism, and was 
never followed by such appalling catastrophes as those 
resulting from alcohol. The dark side of the opium traffic 
has since been so fully exposed, that but little more remains 
to be said, and although even the most sanguine persons 

* A very similar result is arrived at by MacCuUoch, who calculates that the Com- 
pany cleared 7s. 6d. per lb. on opium, which they bought by their agents from the 
Bengal ryots at 3s. Gd. per pound, and retailed at lis. per pound. 

Statistics of Opium SmoJcing. 523 

have ceased to liope that tlie trade can ever be enth-ely sup- 
pressed, yet it is at least consolatory to know that, according 
to the best calculations, the number of opium smokers 
throughout China, in a population that is to say of 420,000,000, 
is not above 4,000,000 to 5,000,000, and that an ordinary 
smoker does not on an average consume more than one 
mace or about one drachm * of ojDium, worth about 90 cash, or 
^\d. The provisions of the new tariff, by which opium may 
be imported unrestrictedly on payment of a fixed duty of 30 
taels (about £10) per chest when water-borne, and 20 taels 
(about £6 10s.) when imported by land, must materially 
effect the opium trade as hitherto carried on, and may very 
possibly alter the views at j^resent entertained by the Chinese 
Government with reference to this imj^ortant article of com- 
merce, in proportion as its treasury begins to be replenished 
by such a high rate of duty. 

Although for European readers the chief interest of China 
is to be found in its relations with foreign countries, we yet 
cannot take leave of it without a few remarks on the mo- 
mentous political movement which has been on foot since 
1849 in several provinces of China, and claims, in conse- 
quence of its peculiar religious natm^e, universal interest. 

Hung-sin-Tsuen, the originator and head of this rebellion, 

* There are indeed smokers who smoke their two, four, five, and even eight drachms 
per diem, but these are solitary instances, while the very costliness of the article for- 
bids the use of the narcotic to the great mass of the population, except in the very 
smallest quantities. 

524 Voyage of the Novara. 

was born in 1813, in a village near Canton, and while yet in 
his early youth was, in consequence of his precocity, removed 
from tending his father's flocks to be a scholar in the village, 
where he pursued his studies with such zeal, that a year later 
he took several degrees as a teacher. On one of his visits to 
Canton, he made the acquaintance of a Protestant missionary, 
with whom he long corresponded, and from whom he re- 
ceived a variety of tracts translated into Chinese, and books, 
by way of presents. In the course of a serious illness with 
which he was assailed about this period, he had numerous 
visions, and is said in his delirium to have insisted on being 
hailed Emperor of China. Gradually Hung and his friend 
and zealous adherent Fung- Yun -San became, through erro- 
neous or wilful misinterpretation of the works of various 
missionary societies, the founders of a new creed, a sort of 
free, semi- Christian sect, which, as it could not long subsist 
without coming into collision with the reigning Government, 
very speedily assumed a political character. It is an in- 
dubitable fact that at first the religious movement was sup- 
ported by the Protestant missionaries, and the views of its 
founders forwarded by every means in their power, with the 
object of using it to prepare the soil for the promulgation 
of Christianity. When about entering his forty-first year. 
Hung formed an alliance with American missionaries sta- 
tioned at Canton, studied their books, after which he returned 
to t]ie province of Kuang-si, where he published writings 
descriptive of the alleged manifestations of the Deity, gave 

Origin of the Tai-ping Insurrection. 525 

liimself forth as a poet,* and at the same time issued proclama- 
tions under the designation of the " Heavenly King." The 
severity with which the regular Government treated the insur- 
gents, and all who consorted with them, only served to augment 
their ranks, to which the mysticism of their doctrine contri- 
buted in no small degree ; for the credulous masses have in 
all lands the same love of the marvellous and unintelligible. 
Such a result only increased the courage, the energy, the 
arrogance of Hung. He no longer was content to an- 
nounce himself as '' the mouth through which God the 
Father, and Jesus the Elder Brother, declared their will ; " 
he now proclaimed boldly the intention of himself and his 
followers to overthrow the unworthy Mantchoo dynasty, and 
raise to the throne a new native dynasty, that of the Tai- 
ping, or universal peace. Althougli stigmatized by the 
official PeJcin Gazette as '' local banditti," they were neverthe- 
less strong enough in March, 1852, to storm even such a 

* One poem of the Chinese Imperial Pretender, which is not inchided in Dr. Med- 
hurst's collection of the writings published by the insm-gent press at Nankin, and for 
a copy of which we have to thank Mr. Meadows, Government interpreter at Shang- 
hai, has lately been translated by our learned countryman. Dr. Pfitzmaier. The 
splendidly got up binding of this Uttle book is of a golden yellow on the title page, 
and red on the reverse ; the river Yang-tse-kiang appears to pay homage to the 
Tai-ping, whose residence it surrounds. The title printed on the exterior of the 
wi'apper runs as follows : " Imperial announcements in theses upon the words of 
the Heavenly Father, the Most High Ruler." The title within is : " Ten poems 
upon Supreme Felicity," although these so-called poems are simply strophes, never 
exceeding four verses of seven feet. The writing bears date the number Kuei-hao 
(50), corresponding to .\.D. 1853, the third year of the reign of the Heavenly King, 
Tai-ping. The whole production is, if that be possible, yet more bombastic, unin- 
telligible, and stupid than Chinese poems usually are to Western readers. 

52,6 Voyage of the JSovara, 

populous city as Nankin, where tliey set up a provisional 
government, and have since fortified it as their head-quarters. 
At the time the Tai-23ing rebellion first broke out, Yeh, the 
then Grovernor of Canton, thought he would readily be able 
to suppress it by the summary process of chopping off the 
heads of all who were supposed to be in correspondence with 
them, and thus had as many as 800 executed daily.* It was 
no longer quite safe for a native to show himself in the 
streets of Canton, unless provided with a paper of identifica- 
tion. For this purpose, four-cornered pieces of a sort of 
white cotton fabric were worn, on which was printed a sign 
in red. These cotton strips served as countersigns for those 
friendly to the reigning dynasty, and were worn con- 
cealed from view, but so as to admit of being at once shown 
in case of need. Dr. Pfitzmaier, who has examined this sign, 
is of opinion that it is simply a union of the three signs 
/LA.!^:^"Jjq which, so far as the two last are concerned, 
seem to have been compressed together and abbreviated, so 
that only the initiated could understand its significance. 
The learned sinologue is of opinion that this hieroglyphic, 
signifying " to offer hand and heart," or '' to offer the original 
(own) heart," has nevertheless no meaning apart from the 
centre figure, which, however, is unusually distorted, so that 

* Between February and September, 1855, there were executed in Canton 70,000 
persons all told. Many of the rebel leaders were, in conformity with the penal laics, 
hewed in numerous pieces while yet living ; a certain Kausin in 108! See K. F. 
Neumann's History of Eastern Asia, from the first Chinese war to the Treaty of 
Pekin, 1840—1860. Leipzig, Engelmann, 1861. 

Pi'ogress of the Tai-ping Movement. 527 

tliG whole may also mean j^b 4]o Kia-hoei, " to yield 
grace and benevolence," or may be applicable to him who 
wears it, '' one who enjoys the all-embracing Imperial cle- 

The religious direction of the Tai-ping movement, cou- 
pled with its apparent Christian tendencies, its results, and, 
above all, the last hostile proclamation of the Pekin Go- 
vernment against foreigners, roused the sympathies of both 
Europeans and Americans in favour of the insurgents ; 
and in the English papers of Hong-kong and Shanghai, 
the policy was vigorously and repeatedly advocated of 
turning the insurrection to their own advantage ; while in 
a religious point of view it was recommended to avail them- 
selves of the favour shown to the Scriptures by the Christian 
sect of the Tai-ping, which was also so amicably disposed to 
foreigners, who at all events were more likely to prove a bul- 
wark and support to English Protestantism than the deceitful, 
promise-breaking, idol-worshipping Mantchoos. Letters and 
communications, which from time to time were published on 
the visit of Protestant missionaries in the insurgent camp, were 
apt to propound the most favourable ideas about the insurgents 
and their strivings after religious truth, and to attach to their 
victories and successes the most glorious hoj^es with respect 
to the spreading of Christianity in China. Fortunately the 
English Government did not suffer its policy to be affected 
thereby, but continued to observe the strictest neutrality. 
Only in those cases where, owing to the advance of the 

32,8 Voyage of the Novara. 

rebels, the interests of British subjects or of universal com- 
merce seemed to be endangered, communications were held 
with the '' Heavenly King" or his ministers, or to protest 
against the injury and limitation of trade witli the earnest- 
ness and depth of impression which Armstrong guns are apt 
to impart to diplomatic dispatches. Thus the insurgents 
were prohibited from approaching within 10 Li of the city of 
Ilang-kow, by this measure protecting not alone their own 
property, but the entire city from pillage and destruction. 
During the last war the interests of the insurgents were kept 
entirely in the background, and during the stay of the 
Novara at Shanghai, which had likewise been repeatedly 
threatened by the insurgents, we could gain but little en- 
lightenment as to the nature and direction of the move- 

However, since the Treaty of Pekin has thrown open the 
navigation of the most important rivers, and thus facilitated 
communication with the interior, there has been a better 
opportunity than hitherto for intercourse with the Tai-ping, 
as also for obtaining a clearer insight into its present condi- 
tion, as well as the object and inevitable consequences of 
their tenets. People are beginning to consider it more 
calmly, and even the missionaries seem gradually abandon- 
ing the expectations they had formed, of finding in it a 
means of helping the cause of Christianity, albeit a former 
missionary. Rev. J. C. Roberts, who in 1847 had spent 

Dogmas of the Tai-ping Belief. 529 

several months with Hung, is at the present moment a sort 
of minister of foreign affairs in the insurgents' camp at Nankin. 
The latest information respecting the Tai-ping enters so 
fully into the character of the whole movement, and so 
clearly dcvelopes its tendency, that no apology is needed 
for laying before the readers of every class a brief sketch of 
the more important and significant dogmas. 

The Tai-ping translations of the Old and New Testament, 
though in the whole tolerably correct, yet are in certain 
parts so imperfect that they implanted the most erroneous 
ideas in the head of the " Celestial King." He conceived 
his own visions and revelations as far more important, and of 
far higher authority, than those of Holy Writ. His mission, 
as he himself states it, is to be followed by a new revelation, 
accompanied by numerous miracles, and a third book will be 
given to the world, which is to supersede the Old and New 
Testaments, and be called the " Tfue Testament." According 
to Hung, both God and Christ have appeared in the human 
form. Christ is not equal to the Father, that is solely God ; 
he is also brought into connection with other redeemers, and 
has a wife and children in heaven. 

The Celestial King and his son form with God and Christ 
a Quaternity in Unity. The corporeal presence of the 
Celestial King is that of the Godhead, and in the dis- 
tempered imagination of the Tai-ping the government now 
existing in Nankin is assuredly that of heaven itself ! 

VOL. II. a M 

^^o Voyage of the Novara. 

The Tai-ping suffer no one to preach against their creed, 
because that would be to diminish the authority of their 
chief, and damp the ardour of their hopes. In their various 
proclamations it is expressly declared that Hung-sin-Tsuen 
is the brother of the Saviour, the Son of God, without any 
other distinction than such as must exist between an elder 
and a younger brother. They maintain that there is a 
celestial mother as well as Father, a heavenly sister as well 
as a heavenly Brother, and that the recently defunct King of 
the West, Fung-yun-san, one of Hung's oldest adherents, is 
now married to the heavenly sister. They hold to the 
opinion that not one of such of their revelations as clash 
with the Old and New Testaments, can be decided by such 
ancient books of religion. Their revelations being the 
newest, are on that account the most entitled to belief. 

In a letter of greeting addressed by Hung to Roberts * the 

* We extract from the London and China Telegraph of 31st March, 1862, the 
following severe but just criticism on this gentleman, whose letter, which we also 
quote, shows him to be a person of but limited education : — " Even the Rev. J. 
Roberts, who, as our readers are aware, has lived with the rebels at Nankin, and 
has to his discredit defended their conduct in the strongest possible manner, has at 
length discovered that they are nothing better than robbers and murderers. This 
change of opinion in a man who on all occasions so confidently urged the claims of 
the Tai-pings, arose from a very simple cause: — he at length suffered, personally, 
from their barbarity. A servant to whom he was attached was killed before his 
eyes ; and considering his life in danger, he fled to Shanghai, and wrote the fol- 
lowing letter, dated 22nd January, 1862, reprobating the conduct of his former 
friends: — 'From having been the religious teacher of Hung Sow-chuen in 1847, 
and hoping that good — religious, commercial, and political — would result to the 
nation from his elevation, 1 have hitherto been a friend to his revolutionary move- 

Letter from Rev. J. Roberts. ^2)^ 

missionary, on the occasion of the arrival of the latter at 
Nankin, in October, 1860, Hung narrates his heavenly 

ment, sustaining it by word and deed, as far as a missionary consistently could, 
without vitiating) his higher character as an ambassador of Christ. But after 
living among them fifteen months, and closely observing their proceedings — po- 
litical, commercial, and religious — I have turned over entirely a new leaf, and 
am now as much opposed to them, for good reasons, I think, as I was ever in 
favour of them. Not that I have aught personally against Hung Sovv-chuen, he has 
been exceedingly kind to me. But I believe him to be a crazy man, entirely unfit to 
rule, without any organized government, nor is he, with his coolie kings, capable of 
organizing a government of equal benefit to the people of even the old Imperial 
Government. He is violent in his temper, and lets his wrath fall heavily upon his 
people, making a man or woman ' an offender for a word,' and ordering such instantly 
to be murdered without 'judge or jury.' He is opposed to commerce, having had 
more than a dozen of his own people murdered since I have been here, for no other 
crime than trading in the city, and has promptly repelled every foreign effort to 
establish lawful commerce here among them, whether inside of the city or out. His 
religious toleration and multiplicity of chapels tm-n out to be a farce, of no avail in 
the spread of Cliristianity, worse than useless. It only amomits to a machinery for 
the promotion "and spread of his own political religion, making himself equal with 
Jesus Christ, who, with God the Father, himself, and his own son constitute one 
Lord over all ! Nor is any missionary, who will not believe in his divine appoint- 
ment to this high equaUty, and promulgate his pohtical rehgion accordingly, safe 
among these rebels, in Ufe, servants, or property. He told me soon after I arrived 
that if I did not believe in hini, I would perish, like the Jews did for not beUeving 
in the Saviour. But little did I then think that I should ever come so near it, by 
the sword of one of his own miscreants, in his own capital, as I did the other day. 
Kan-Wang, moved by his elder brother (literally a coolie at Hong-kong) and the 
devil, without the fear of God before his eyes, did, on Monday the 13th inst., come 
into the house in which I was Uving, then and there most wilfully, maliciously, and 
with malice aforethought, murder one of my servants with a large sword in his ow-n 
hand in my presence, without a moment's warning or any just cause. And after 
having slain my poor harmless, helpless boy, he jumped on his head most fiend-like 
and stamped it with his foot ; notwithstanding I besought him most entreatingly 
from the commencement of his murderous attack to spare my poor boy's life. And 
not only so, but he insulted me myself in every possible way he could think of, to 
provoke me to do or say something which would give him an apology, as I then 

2 M 2 

532, Voyage of the Novara. 

journey in 1837, the repeated miraculous interference of the 
Father and the Son in his favour, as also the revelations 
made to the Eastern King. He professes to have seen the 
Father and Christ, the heavenly mother and the heavenly 
sister. He is himself '' the Way, the Truth, and the Life," 
just as Christ is. He warns Roberts repeatedly, that im- 
plicit belief in this is of the highest importance, as otherwise 
he can neither be useful in this world nor blest in the next. 
After such an exposition, Christian missionaries will scarcely 
be suffered in the insurgent's camp if they dare to preach 
against such errors, not to say blasphemies. 

There are but few religious ceremonies. The Tai- 

thought and I think yet, to kill me, as well as my dear boy, whom I loved like a son. 
He stormed at me, seized the bench on which I sat with the violence of a madman, 
threw the di-egs of a cup of tea in my face, seized hold of me personally, and shook 
me violently, struck me on my right cheek with his open hand ; then, according to 
the instruction of my King for whom 1 am ambassador, I turned the other, and he 
struck me quite a sounder blow on my left cheek with his right hand, making my ear 
ring again ; and then perceiving that he could not provoke me to offend him in word 
or deed, he seemed to get the more outrageous, and stormed at me like a dog, to be 
gone out of his presence. ' If they will do these things in a green tree, what will 
they do in the dry ?' — to a favourite of Teen Wang's, who can trust himself among 
them, either as a missionary or a merchant ? . I then despaired of missionary success 
among them, or any good coming out of the movement — religious, commercial, or 
political — and determined to leave them, which I did on Monday, Jan. 20th, 1862.' 
Mr. Roberts adds that Kan-Wang had refused to give up his clothes, books, and 
journals, and that he had been left in a state of destitution. Most persons will agree 
that he fully deserves any amount of suffering that may be inflicted on him. Mr. 
Roberts has done his utmost to delude Europeans as to the true character of the 
Tai-pings ; he has kept back some facts, has falsified others, and has acted through- 
out in a manner utterly inconsistent with his assumed character of a Christian 
missionary. On such conduct no comment can be too severe." 

Reliyious Services of the Tai-ping. ^2i2> 

ping, indeed, call one day of the week the day of 
prayer, and it happens more through oversight than inten- 
tion to be fixed upon the Saturday, but so far as external 
sanctity goes there seems to be no special attention paid to 
it. They buy, and sell, and delve just as on other days. On 
the previous night about ten o'clock two or three cannon-shot 
are fired to announce the approach of the hour of prayer, 
and that the day of worship is at hand. Every family is 
engaged for an hour in devotion and praise. All strangers 
who have been in communication with the Tai-ping in Nan- 
kin state that, even in the capital where he has been resident 
for seven years past, that dignitary does not observe the 
Sabbath in any way, either by preaching, prayer, or ex- 
pounding of the Scripture ; there are no exhortations or pious 
admonitions; they have neither churcH nor temple; their 
sole divine service consists in each one reciting in his own 
house English hymns, and repeating a few prayers, while 
divers offerings are made, such as tea, rice, and the flesh of 
slain animals. They offer their prayers kneeling, after which 
they close the proceedings by singing a hymn standing. An 
English missionary, who arrived at Nankin with the conviction 
that the insurgents were genuine sincere Clnristians, made, 
after a short stay, the following severe but just remark con- 
cerning them : ''I found to my regret no trace of Christianity, 
but a system of the grossest idolatry substituted for it, and 
arrogating its name. Their notion of God is so distorted, 

534 Voyage of the Novara. 

that it is, if possible, still more erroneous than that enter- 
tained of the Supreme Being by other idol-worshij^ping Chi- 
nese. Their conception of the Redeemer, to whom they pay 
equal honours, is crude, and thoroughly material. Their 
prayers, far from giving the impression of a true reverence 
of God, have much more the appearance of an idolatrous 
mockery of sacred tilings ! " 

An English merchant, who accompanied Sir Hope Grant 
on his reconnoitring excursion up the Yang-tse-Kiang, and 
spent a week in what used to be called Nankin, now the 
celestial capital of the Tai-ping, gives the following charac- 
teristic sketch of them : '' The insurgents take no interest in 
and do not encourage trade, except in muskets and ammuni- 
tion. To our representations how unwise it was to lay waste 
towns and villages, and shut out commerce, they promised, after 
peace was concluded, to erect schools and other similar institu- 
tions, and professed their willingness to promote trade, but ' for 
the present,' they went on, ' we must, before anything else, 
make the hills and the rivers subject to our power.' On the 
whole I found the condition of the rebels far better than I had 
expected. They are comfortably clothed and well fed. The 
population of Nankin consists exclusively of officials. No 
one not connected with the administration of the army is 
admitted within the gates of the city. The majority of the 
inhabitants, who number about 20,000, are prisoners and 
slaves from every part of the empire. Although employed 

Domestic Life of the Tai-ping and the Kings. c^2>6 

in most arduous work, they get no pay, but are simply 
clothed and fed. I remarked an extraordinary number of 
beautiful young women in elegant silken stuffs from Sutsclian. 
There were also prisoners of war from Sutschan and other 
places, who, however, were by no means inclined to lead a 
very Christian and moral life in the celestial capital. The 
city of Nankin, as well as its suburb, the beautiful ancient 
cemetery of the Ning dynasty, and the far-famed porcelain 
Pagoda, are all utterly destroyed ; instead of the broad well- 
paved streets of foimer times the stranger has now to pick 
his steps tlirough heaps of bricks and rubbish. The palaces 
of the kings of the Tai-ping dynasty are glaringly conspicu- 
ous among all these ruins. They must have been entirely 
rebuilt, for the old Yamuns and temples, like the whole of 
the Tau-Tai City, have been demolished utterly. 

'^ The rebel chief inhabits a large palace. His household 
consists of 300 female attendants. He also, in virtue of his 
rank, has 68 wives supported for him. No one but the kings 
(of whom there are 11 or 12, but only two are resident in 
Nankin) is permitted to approach his sacred person. Probably 
Hung is little more than a mere puppet in the hands of his 
ministers. It is he who mainly keeps the rebellion on foot. 
Discipline is far better maintained among the long-haired 
insurgents than the imperial troops, and many of the younger 
soldiers have pleasing manners. 

" The kings or Wangs, on the other hand^ seem exceedingly 

^^6 Voyage of the Novara. 

lazy and vicious, and when they make their appearance, with 
a theatrical attempt at assmning a dignified deportment, clad 
in the yellow costume of a mountebank, and with a tinsel 
crown upon their heads, they present a most ludicrous aspect. 
Not one of these so-called kings understands the Mandarin 
dialect, so widely diffused among the educated classes ; — ^not 
one, except Hung himself and Kan-wang, has a better educa- 
tion than one of his coolies.* They have linguists at their 
elbow, who do their reading and writing for them. 

^' The arms of the Tai-ping are very wretched, and the bare 
fact that they are able to make head against the Imperial 
troops, speak volumes for the utter helplessness and incaj)acity 
of the Imperial Government. I have not the slightest ex- 
pectation that any advantage will accrue to civilization or 
Christianity from the religio-political movement of the Tai- 
ping. No Chinese will have anything to do with them. 
Their whole activity consists in burning, murdering, and 
devastating. They are universally detested by the people ; 
even those inhabitants of the city who do not belong to the 
^ Brotherhood ' detest them. For eight years their head- 
quarters have been at Nankin, which they destroyed, nor 
have they as yet made the slightest attempt to rebuild it. 
Trade and industry are forbidden. Their taxes are three 
times higher than those of the regular Government. They 
take no measures to staunch the wounds which they have 

* Nankin accordingly is usually called now-a-days the " City of the.Coolie-Kings." 

Departure from Shanghai. 537 

inflicted on the people, nor do they occupy It as though 
they had any permanent interest in the land. Tliey take no 
pains to tap those slow but sure springs of revenue, or to in- 
crease the resources of the state. They lay themselves out 
to maintain themselves by plunder. Nothing in their organ- 
ization gives hope for any amelioration of the present or con- 
solidation of power in the future ; there is nothing in the 
entire history of the Tai-ping to enlist sympathy or compel 
confidence in a movement which , under the mask of religious 
reform, conceals the most hateful self-interest and ten^orism, 
and under the pretext of spreading peace amongst men, 
brandishes the scourge of destruction and desolation among 
the provinces through which it has passed."* 

On the 11th of August the Novara quitted her anchorage off 
Shanghai, and with the steam-tug Meteor f fastened to her side 
availed herself of a spring tide to make her way into the Yang- 
tse-Kiang. Off Wusung we awaited the arrival of the post, 

* Very similar are the reports made by the English who, in Dec. 1858, accom- 
panied Lord Elgin on his voyage of discovery up the Kiang, and remained a con- 
siderable period among the Tai-ping. " The tenets of their religion," says Mr. 
Laurence Oliphant {pide Earl of Elgin's Mission to China and Japan, vol. ii. p. 463), 
" consist of a singular jumbling of Jewish ordinances, Christian theology, and Chinese 
philosophy. Like the Jews in the Old Testament they wage wars of extermination, 
they live like the worst professing Christians, and they beUeve hke — Chinese." 

t The charges forwarded by the owners of the Uttle Meteor for towing, and which 
are calculated according to the draught of water of the ship towed, was as follows : — 

« f From Shanehai to 'i 
I; Gutzlaff's Island, / 

<aj Shanfihai to Wu-\ 
•1] sung, ; 

•a From Wusung to "I 
5 I GutzlafTs Island, i 

15 feet and under. 
300 taels, or £90. 

ISOtaels, or£45. 

223 ta«ls, or 
£62 10«. 

350 taels, or 450 taels, or 
£105. £135 

175 taels, or 200 taels, or 
£52 10s. £60. 

250 taels, or 275 taels, or 
£75. I £82 10s. 

450 taels, or 

225 taels, or 
£62 10s. 

300 ta<>ls, or 

19 ft. &aU beyond. 

500 taels, or 

250 taels, or £75. 

350 taels, or 

538 Voyage af the Novara. 

after receiving which we were on 14th x\ugust towed as far as 
Gutzlaff's Island. Here we had once more to lay to, owing to 
calms and currents, till at last on the 15th August a fresh breeze 
sprang up from the S. E., and enabled us to make an offing. 

The temperature had materially altered during the last few 
days. After a cycle of oppressive heat the weather had sud- 
denly changed to severe squalls, with a marked fall in the 
barometric column. The thermometer, which while we were 
lying off Shanghai marked from 86*^ to 93^.2 Fahr., now indi- 
cated in the morning only 68° Fahr., and during the day 
never rose above 77° Fahr. The number of fever cases, which 
had reached the number of seventy, began gradually to fall 
off. Several cases of dysentery forthwith began to show symp- 
toms of amendment. 

Considering the latitude we were in, and the season of the 
year, the barometer stood unusually high (30°. 100), and al- 
though this might be attributable to the constant prevalence 
of easterly winds, we nevertheless knew we were approaching 
the period when the monsoon changes, and little reliance was 
to be placed on the steadiness of that from the S.E. Accord- 
ingly on the 17th the wind shifted round to N.E. by E., while 
our course was due S.E. This however rendered it necessary 
to tack, if we wished to pass to the northward of the Loo-Choo 
group, whereas we could run free and with a fair wind 
through the southern channel. The sun set behind a bank 
of dense clouds on the horizon. The western sky was tinged 
a deep red, and the stars shone out with uncommon brilliancy, 

Ihn'peror's Fete. — Indications of a Typhoon. 539 

but with a sort of trembling ray. The barometer fell slowly 
but steadily ; the sea began to heave perceptibly. Our course 
was now changed to S.E. by S. 

The following morning the breeze freshened, and drew 
somewhat further aft ; the sky was covered with clouds massed 
together, those to the N.E. of a very dark, almost black, colour. 
Wind and sea were now rising, the sky became more and more 
obscure, the barometer kept falling — there was every indica- 
tion of the approach of heavy weather. 

The 18th August, the birthday of our Emperor, was duly 
celebrated far on the open ocean, in the middle of the China 
Sea. All was prepared for Divine worship, which was to be cele- 
brated at 10 A.M. on the gun-deck, in presence of the staff and 
the entire crew. The Commodore had invited several gentlemen 
of the staff to dinner. On land no one thinks of consulting 
the elements, when such a festival is to be observed, nor do 
the guests waste many thoughts on wind, rain, and heavy seas, 
as they assemble in their comfortable chambers. At sea, on 
the other hand, the conditions are altered. Wind and weather 
are the masters here, whose behests the sea-farer must attend 
to. This was our case on this 18th of August. 

First, Divine service had to be dispensed with, because the 
sea became too heavy, rendering it necessary to close the 
port-holes in the gun-deck, where, as already mentioned, the 
service was to be performed. As the hour for the festival 
drew nigh, the elements gave unmistakeable evidence of 
their determined hostility ; there was no room any longer to 

540 Voyage of the Novara. 

doubt that we were about to do battle with a regular Ty- 
phoon.* This species of storm, which is very customary at 
the change of the monsoons in August, September, and 
October, when the N. E. trade suddenly veers round and 
becomes the S. "W. monsoon, is, like the tornado of the 
West Indies, the Pampero of the eastern coast of South 
America, and the hurricane of the Mauritius, a whirlwind of 
the most colossal proportions and most tremendous fury, by 
which the atmosphere is swept in a circle at an astonishing 
velocity around a central point more or less calm, which 
does not, however, remain stationary, but is continually 
progressing, and hence they are usually termed cyclones, or 
circular storms, to distinguish them from those other storms 
in which the wind moves in a straight line. It has been 
reserved for scientific investigation to explain the extra- 
ordinary regularity of the laws in obedience to which the 
masses of air, in the case of such storms occurring in the 
Southern hemisphero, move in the direction of the hands of a 
clock, whereas in the Northern hemisphere they are rotated 
in an opposite direction. In like manner, the direction of 
the centre round which the cyclone is raging has been 
definitely ascertained, so that, provided with these data, it 
is not merely possible for the navigator to hold aloof 

* Typhoon, or Tei-fun, a strong wind. While some authors derive this word 
from the Arabic Tufan, a violent wind, others see in it the giant Typhos of Greek 
mythology, who was begotten by Tartarus of Earth, and from whom proceeded all 
that was disastrous and destructive. Whoever has experienced a typhoon wiU most 
readily acquiesce in the latter derivation. 

Scenes on Board duriyig the TijpJioon. 541 

from tlio dangerous central point of tliese circular storms, 
where the best and stoutest ship that ever floated must 
almost to a certainty be swallowed up, but even to avail 
himself of the wind to reach the edge of the cyclone (the 
breadth of whose path is from 300 to 1000 miles), and thus 
make a rapid and prosperous passage. By mid-day the 
wind had increased to such an extent that we had to take in 
most of our sails, and reef the rest. The sea now rose, and 
many of its waves came thundering upon our decks. The 
vessel was tossed to and fro with such violence that every- 
thing which had not been made fast, or was attached to the 
vessel, began to Im-ch from side to side. Nevertheless, the 
invited guests sat down to table, made the seats and the 
table fast, and, such at least whom the violent rocking did 
not make sea-sick, partook of a pleasant and joyous meal. 
But even these precautions did not prevent numerous un- 
pleasant accidents. One tremendous lurch of the ship, 
which took us unawares, suddenly set adi-ift a number of 
our mess, who rolled over and over each other upon that 
unstable floor, amid a hideous chaos of tumblers, bottles, 
plates, and crockery. Chairs and fauteuils had their legs 
broken, everything breakable went into irretrievable smash, 
the convives escaping serious injury only by a marvel. Once 
more they took their seats at table, where only the bare 
cloth gave promise of security, and endeavoured to anchor 
themselves more firmly. When, at the conclusion of the 
meal, our Commodore gave the usual toast, and his guests 

542- Voyage of the No vara. 

emptied their glasses to the health of the reigning monarch, 
the band attempted to strike up the National Anthem, 
and a heart-y cheer resounded above the groaning of the 
ship, the howling of the wind, and the sullen roar of the 
ever-increasing waves, as they lashed against the ship's 

Tlie sun went down behind clouds, as we went careering 
along under close-reefed main-sail and storm stay-sail over 
a confused sea, running mountains high, and with huge 
heavy grey masses of cloud and mist close overhead ; the 
barometer was still falling, and as night closed in the wind 
sung mournfully, yet with almost deafening noise, tlirough the 
masts ^nd rigging. The wind now shifted and sprung up 
from N.E. by N., which being an additional sign that the 
centre of the cyclone was receding, we felt assured that we 
were on the right side to keep clear of it. By midnight the 
wind came still further round, till it stood steadily at N.E., 
when it acquired fresh strength, and blew a most violent 
hurricane. The centre of the cyclone had once more altered 
its course, and begun to move in our direction. 

Our position at noon (27° 25' N. and 125° 23' E.) was the 
most unfavourable possible. We had a N.E. wind, and 
were in the N.E. section of the typhoon, whose centre, as is 
customary in these storms, was moving in a N.W. or W. 
direction, and therefore threatened the more readily to over- 
take us, tliat our course lay S.E. tlirough the wide channel, 
which leads from the Chinese Sea into the oj^cn ocean 

Approach the Centre of the Ci/ctone. 543 

between the Loo-Clioo Islands and the Meiaco-sima group. 
There was now no other egress possible than by steering W. by 
S. to get away from the advancing centre of the whirlwind, 
on which course we would have to steer for the N. extremity 
of the Island of Formosa. 

The night of 18th and 19th of August was, in the fullest 
sense of the word, a night of storms. Towards midnight we 
once more set double-reefed foresail in order to lie our course 
of west by south. Had we calculated aright the course of 
the centre of the cijlone, the wind as we advanced should 
have drawn ahead, as we were now keeping it on our 
larboard beam. 

Day-break of the 19th found us beneath a gloomy, angry- 
looking, cloudy grey canopy on every side, the clouds hanging 
quite low, till they seemed to brood upon the sm*face of the 
sea, now lashed into fury by the violence of the storm. The 
look-out could scarcely see a cable's length clear of the ship. 
Deluges of rain, lashes of spray, driven on board by the 
tremendous violence of the wind, enveloped us in a strange, 
half-mysterious obscurity. Towards the N.E. a compact 
bank of bluish grey clouds indicated the centre of the cy- 
clone. The motion of the ship was so violent that one of 
her quarter boats got filled with water, which at every lurch 
was washed upon the frigate's quarter-deck like a small cas- 
cade. Sometimes they became so fall that they threatened 
to wrench the davits fi*om their fastenings. The gun-deck 
was afloat with spray lashed on board with each pitch of the 

544 Voyage of the Novara. 

ship, while the foam flew high up upon the mast. The waves 
crossed each other in every direction, huge conical masses 
rising suddenly to a height of 25 or 30 feet, as far as one 
might guess, and then as suddenly subsiding. It was the 
genuine pyramidal sea of the true cyclone, of which vessels 
caught in these furious circular storms are even more aj)pre- 
hensive than the fury and strength of the hurricane. 

The wind, which now began to draw to the westward, in- 
dicated that thus far we had shaped a proper course, and that 
the course of the cyclone lay towards the N. W. Under these 
circumstances it was deemed most prudent to make the Mari- 
anne Islands, and to avail ourselves even of the hurricane in 
order to perform a rapid voyage. We accordingly now laid 
our course to steer S.E. by S., through the centre of the 
channel south of the Loo-Choo Islands. Considering the 
width, 120 nautical miles, of this channel, there was reason 
to hope that, despite the errors in reckoning which were to 
be expected amid so many manoeuvres, and considering the 
impossibility of getting astronomical observations, and the 
influence of the sort of currents which those hurricanes 
usually set in motion for a short period, we might make our 
way through it in safety. 

The wind remained steadily in the N.W., and at first was 
on our port quarter. Towards noon, however, it came round 
to N.W. by W., so that we were now running dead before it. 
We now set double-reefed foresail so as to make quicker 
progress. Towards 6 p.m. the hurricane woke up to its full 

Pass the Southern Loo- Choo Channel. — End of the Cij clone. 545 

strength ; squall followed squall, the universal covering of 
cloud in which the heavens seemed wrapped looked as though 
it reached to the very waters, and the air was quite filled 
with sj)ray, till when standing at the ship's stern it was barely 
possible to distinguish the forecastle. The storm, sweeping 
along above the seething water, had a singular piercing, almost 
metallic, notCj quite unlike the singing and whistling made 
among the sails and cordage. Staggering along under close- 
reefed fore and main sail, and double-reefed top-sail, the 
frigate pressed on through the thick night, going 14 miles an 
hour, through the strait between Loo-Choo and Meiaco-sima, 
out of the China Sea into the Pacific Ocean, whither she was 
being hurried along with such impetuous, irresistible violence 
by the wind, that not even the most experienced seaman could 
make head against it, but had, when passing from one part of 
the ship to the other, to warp himself along by means of a 
rope made fast fore and aft.* At 4 p.m. the barometer stood 
at its lowest (29°. 302, the temperature at the same period 
being 66°.02 Fahr.), where it remained without sensible alter- 
ation for several hours. At last, towards 9 p.m., it began 
slowly to rise, the sm^est indication, and therefore most 
welcome one, that we were increasing our distance fi'om the 

* During this storm, we made the not uninteresting obsen-ation in a physiological 
point of view, that when the gale was at its worst, even the least hard-a-weather of 
us seemed quite free from sea-sickness, apparently the result of extreme excitement. 
For similar reasons, men who have been bitten by a snake, and who have had raw 
spirits administered as an antidote, seem able to take four or five limes the quantity 
which they can on ordinary occasions. 

VOL. II. 2 N 

54^ Voyage of the Novara. 

central point of the storm. About 11 p.m. the clouds sud- 
denly lifted on S. S.E., the liorlzon began to widen; there 
was no longer a doubt that the worst was over. 

At dawn on the 20th tlie masts and cordage showed a 
thick incrustation of salt, thus giving unmistakable evidence 
of the great height to which the spray had been driven. 
The wind was now W. S. W., and the barometer had risen to 
2 9°. 5, so that we had now merely an ordinary gale to deal 
with, and miglit look upon the cyclone as expended. Science 
had indicated the method of evading the centre of the circular 
storm, and even of making the very hurricane subservient to 
our ends in driving us along our destined course ! 

At 8 A.M. the sun began to be visible by fits and starts, 
long enough, however, to permit us to make an occasional 
observation. According to this we were only one mile out 
of our position by dead-reckoning. During the 24 hours, 
inclusive of the period during which we lay to, we had run 
218 miles in a general direction of S. E. by E. During the 
afternoon the sky cleared. The sea was still high, but tlie 
atmosphere gradually became clearer and more transparent, 
till by sun-down even the large banks of clouds on the N. E. 
which continued to mark the centre of tlie cyclone had en- 
tirely disappeared. The Novara during this tremendous 
storm had proved herself a thorough sea-boat, nor was there 
any particular damage noticeable on the occasion of the care- 
ful inspection to which her sails, masts, and rigging were 
subjected, immediately that the weather became more favour- 

Effect of the Typhoon on the Anmials on Board. 547 

able. Her masts and sails, which in such a warfare of the 
elements she might so readily have had carried away, were 
all found to be uninjured, and only a few plates of her 
copper sheeting had been loosened by the fury of the waves, 
while those still clinging to the ship had been rolled up like 
so much paper, by the tremendous pitching of the good ship. 
The quarter gallery too, which when the frigate was running 
before the wind was exposed to considerable danger, had 
sustained but little damage. Such unfortunately was not 
the case with a small menagerie of rare birds and monkeys, 
which had been placed in cages carefully covered with linen 
in this, ordinarily the most sheltered, part of the vessel. The 
covering had been torn away by the hurricane, and the wind 
had so tossed the poor things about, that all their feathers 
were knocked off, and they presented a most pitiable appear- 
ance. The quadrupeds too, whose cries and lowings during 
the storm had already testified to their misery, were found 
to have suffered severely. Two oxen and several sheep 
died on the 19th. All the surviving animals lost flesh ter- 
ribly during 48 hours, while those that had been the wildest 
and most untameable were now quite tame and docile. 

An analysis of the phenomena observed during the contin- 
uation of the ci/clone, shows that on the 18th it formed its 
vortex, being then about opposite the rather lofty and 
tolerable-sized island of Dkinawasmia of the Loo-Choo 
group, which must have occasioned an alteration in the direc- 
tion of the wind. Owing in part to the influence of the N.E. 

2 N 2 

54^ Voyage of the Novara. 

trade, wliicli enters the northern part of the China Sea, and 
at tin's season Is gradually veering round till it completely 
displaces the S.W. monsoon, as also during the S.W. mon- 
soon itself, which blows from Formosa on the south, there 
appears to exist to the northward of the latter-named island, 
favoured probably by its natural configuration and physical 
features, a well-defined space within which the barometer is 
always depressed, and in which the atmosphere in immediate 
contact with these N. E. and S.W. winds is compelled to as- 
sume a sort of whirling motion, like that of the hands of a 
clock, thus forming the germ as it were of a cyclone. 

So long as the S. W. wind was blowing strongly, the centre 
of the cyclone moved in an easterly direction, or in other 
words, in the direction of least resistance. But arrested in 
its advance by the various island groups, as also by the gradu- 
ally increasing pressure of the S. E. and E. winds, the cyclone 
must, in consequence of the obstacles opposed to its path, have 
swung round with a sort of whirl, which once more impressed 
upon it a N. W. direction to the coasts of China, there to ex- 
pend itself, apparently in consequence of the ever-increasing 
j^ressure of the surrounding atmosphere. During forty-eight 
hours, namely from 6 p. m. of the 18th to the same hour on 
the 20th, we were within the range of the typhoon itself, and 
on the 19th were at the nearest point to its vortex ; neverthe- 
less, judging by our lowest barometrical reading, we must have 
been at least 100 miles distant from the centre. It was the 
first typhoon that visited Chinese waters in 1858, and had 

Visit en Route the Island of Guam. 549 

been predicted weeks before in the " North China Herald," 
while the Thousand Years Almanac of the Chinese calendar 
assigned its date for the 10th of August. 

Our course was now shaped for the Marianne Archipelago. 
For several days after the typhoon, the weather remained 
unsettled, and the swell was both heavy and broken, when on 
26th August we came in sight of the island of Guam or Gua- 
ham, the most southerly of the Marianne group. In twelve 
days we had run 1860 miles, with the aid of the typhoon 
it is true, but there was the fact, the distance had been ac- 
complished, and as to the How ? Jack gives himself little 
concern, so long as he reaches his goal swiftly and in safety. 

On the morning of the 27th we stood into the Bay of 
Umiita, although it was very doubtful whether we should 
find a secure anchorage here, considering the S.W. wind 
that was blowing full into the roadstead, which is quite un- 
sheltered in that point of the compass. In fact, as we came 
nearer the land, we speedily became aware of the impractica- 
bility of anchoring here even in the best weather ; while, on 
the other hand, it did not seem very advisable, owing to the 
difficulty of getting in, to make for the excellent harboui' of 
San Louis de Apra, it being by no means easy, during the 
prevalence of the S.W. monsoons, for a large ship to beat 
out, so that they are occasionally detained there for several 
weeks. The order was accordingly given to luff up, so as 
to make tacks against the freshening west wind, out of this 
bay, studded as it is with numerous coral reefs. This proved 

^^o Voyage of the Novara. 

to be a work of much time and trouble, ere we succeeded, 
after many hours of anxious care, in weathering the reef. 

The island of Guam, with its lofty green mountain-ridges, 
numberless valleys, and thickly-wooded glades, had a cheer- 
ful and friendly aspect, but seems but little cultivated. At 
Umata, where we perceived a few houses, the Spanish flag 
was waving from a small fort adjoining the settlement, which 
had been hoisted on the approacli of the frigate. 

On 30th August, in 149° 53' E., we reached the eastern 
limit of the S.W. monsoon, and — although not more than four 
days' sail from the object of our next visit, the island of 
Puynipet, had we met with favourable winds to waft us a 
little further — it was 15th September ere we came in sight of 
that lovely island, for, stormy and boisterous as the beginning 
of this section of our cruise had proved, not less annoying 
were the fickle calms, which kept us lying for weeks motion- 
less, our sails idly flapping with the roll of the ship. It is a 
wretched dej)ressing state of inactivity and discomfort, of 
which only those can form an idea who have been caught in 
a calm on the open ocean, on board of a sailing ship, — 

Wenn Welle ruht und jedes Luft gefliister ; 

Wenn Meer und Himmel schweigend sich umsehlingen, 
Und fromm, fast wie zwei betende Geschwester." 

* Which may be freely translated as follows: 

" When ocean smooths his wrinkled face, 
And sea and sky in pray'rful silence bend, 

As when, in mutual fond embrace. 
Two loving^sisters' vows on high ascend ! " 
The original is by Nicolas Lenau. 

X\ J. 

Clje |shinb ai ^^imitrpct. 

18tii September, 1858. 

Native boats in sight. — A pilot comes on board. — Communications of a white settler. 
— Another pilot. — Fruitless attempts to tack for the island. — Roankiddi Harbour. 
— Extreme difficulty in effecting a landing with the boats. — Settlement of Rei. — Dr. 
Cook. — Stroll through the forest. — Excursions up the Roankiddi River. — American 
missionaries — Tisit from the king of the Roankiddi tribe. — Kawa as a beverage- 
— Interior of the royal abode. — The Queen. — Mode of living, habits and cus- 
toms of the natives. — Their religion and mode of worship. — Their festivals and 
dances. — Ancient monumental records and their probable origin. — Importance of 
these in both a historical and geological point of view. — Return on board. — Sus- 
picious conduct of the white settler. — An asylum for contented delinquents. — Un- 
der weigh for Australia. — Belt of calms. — Simpson Island. — " It must be a ghost !" 
— Bradley Reef. — A Comet. — The Salmon Islands. — Rencontre with the natives of 
Malay ta. — In sight of Sikayana, 

"While yet, on 16th September, 1858, five or six knots 
distant from the island of Pu3mipet,* first discovered in 

* Occasionally called Bonabe, Bonibet, Funopet (by the French, Ascension). It 
lies in 6° 58' N., and 158° 20' E., and, with the two low atolls adjacent of Andema 
and Paphenemo (called by the English Ant's Island ?ind Pakeen respectively) were 
namedby their discoverer, Admiral Lutke, the Senjawin group, after the nameofhisship. 

^5 2 Voyage of the Novara. 

1828 by tlie Russian Admiral Liitke, and just as we foimd 
ourselves off what is called " Middle Harbour," we remarked 
a boat of European construction making for the frigate. 
Two hours later it came alongside, with four natives and a 
white man, the latter of whom came on deck and offered his 
services to the Commodore as pilot. He proved to be a 
Yankee named Alexander Tellet, who had lived 20 years 
on the island as smith and carpenter, to which he added the 
functions of pilot for the harbour in which he lived. Pre- 
sently we were surrounded by a considerable number of 
natives in elegant canoes streaked with red, and formed of 
hollowed-out trunks of trees with outriggers, which have very 
peculiar scaffold-like supports, so that there is a kind of 
platform formed in the centre of the canoe, whereon the 
master usually seats himself, but which serves on occasion 
for festive meetings, and even for a small dance ! The sails, 
made of mats, are triangular, tlie most acute angle being 
confined between two long bamboos, while a third serves as 
a mast, the whole capable of being shifted to either end of 
the boat by one of the crew, according to the direction of the 
wind. While some were doing what they could in their 
small boats to keep within the sj)eed of the frigate, though 
we were going pretty fast, just as parasites make fast to the 
shark, others followed us a little distance, like dolphins, those 
faithful companions of ships, as far as the nearest harbour. 
With the exception of a short apron of cocoa-palm leaves, 
the natives were quite naked, and seemed pretty well 
made. On their heads they wore a sort of projecting pent- 

English Ilalf-hreeds among the Natives. ^iif2f 

hat, also of palm -leaves, obviously intended to shield the eyes 
^from the vertical rays of the sun, and in form most resembling 
those lamp shades which old men or youths with weak eye- 
sight are with us in the habit of using to ward off the full 
glare of artificial light. Among the natives who favoured us 
with their escort, there were two who from their personal 
grace, their light colour of skin, and thoroughly European 
cast of features, especially attracted our attention. They 
were the sons of an Englishman named Hadley, who had 
been for many years resident on Mudock island, E. of 
Puynipet, where he supported himself by fishing and pilot- 
age, and had married a native woman. Shortly before our 
arrival, Hadley had started with several hundred pounds of 
tortoiseshell for Hong-kong, whence he intended to sail for 
England. He had intrusted his two sons to the care of a 
European settler, who succeeded him as pilot on Mudock 
island. According to all appearance, however, Hadley had 
little intention of returning to this island, notwithstanding 
the family tie that should have bound him to it. 

As we were coasting along the west side of the island 
about 1 to 17 miles from the reefs, Tellet was overwhelmed 
with questions on every hand and on every possible subject, 
and among other subjects of information we presently found 
that the chief intercourse of foreign ships was carried on 
with Roankiddi or Lee Harbour, some 15 or 20 miles distant, 
and Metetemai or Foul-weather Harbom', which lies six or 
seven miles E. of Roankiddi. During the N.E. trade (No- 

554 Voyage of the Novara. 

vember to April), from 50 to 60 American whalers put in to 
Puynipet to take in wood and water, and fresh provisions, 
cliiefly yams, taro, sweet-potato, poultry, and pigs. Many 
ships, moreover, bound from Sydney for China prefer at 
that season the voyage through the Pacific to passing round 
the south of Australia, and thence through the Straits of 
Sunda, or the yet more dangerous passage through Torres 
Straits, and usually make a tolerably fast run. Thus the 
Swedish corvette Eugenie, on her voyage round the globe, 
performed in November, 1852, the astonishing feat of mak- 
ing the passage from Sydney to Hong-kong, 5000 miles, in 
the unprecedentedly short space of 37 days ! 

The number of aborigines on this island, which is about 
60 miles in circumference, was estimated by Tellet at about 
2000. Formerly it was as many as 5000,* but the small-pox 
had since then committed fearful ravages among the popula- 
tion. The circumstances under which this frightful scourge 
was first introduced into Puynipet, throw considerable 
light upon the history of the spread of that disease, as well 
as much useful information upon the question of vaccination. 

In 1854, the English barque Delta arrived at Roankiddi 

* Captain Andrew Cheyne, of the English mercantile service, to whom the sea- 
faring world is indebted for a very complete and excellent account of the islands of 
the West Pacific, and who last visited Puynipet in 1846, reckoned the population of 
the island at that period at from 7000 to 8000. See a description of islands in the 
Western Pacific Ocean, North and South of the Equator, with sailing Directions, &c. 
p. 94. London, J. D. Potter. 1852. — SaiUng Directions from New South Wales to 
China and Japan. Compiled from the most Authentic Sources. By Andrew 
Cheyne, first Class Master, Mercantile Navy. p. 136. London, J. D. Potter. 1855. 

OiithreaJc and terrific Ravages of Small- Pox. ^^^ 

Harbour, with one of her crew ill with sniall-pox. The white 
settlers then on tlie island, who were well acquainted with 
the virulence of the disease, implored the native chief to 
forbid the captain's remaining, and insist on his putting to 
sea forthwith. The latter, however, seemed determined 
to leave the patient on the island. When he learned the 
hostile feeling of the population to himself and the crew, 
and found that they would neither take his sick man off 
his hands, nor supply himself and ship's company with 
provisions, he availed himself of the silence and obscurity 
of night to dejDosit the sick man on the shore with all his 
property, and at daybreak made off under full sail. Next 
morning the natives found the unfortunate wretch stretched 
suffering and utterly helpless on the strand, while the 
barque was no longer in sight. Hostility to the captain 
was now converted into sympathy with, and active com- 
passion for, the sick man ; a couch was prepared in an ad- 
jacent hut, and as much attention lavished on him as was 
possible under the cii'cumstances ; but his effects, consisting 
chiefly of linen and upper clothing, were sjoeedily ajDpro- 
priated by the tliievish natives. A few weeks later the 
small-pox broke out with frightful violence, and raged five 
months with undiminished severity all over the island. 
Almost every one of the natives was attacked, and of 5000 
inhabitants 3000 succumbed to the virulence of the epi- 
demic. The sailor, however, with whom first originated 
this terrible fatality, completely recovered. His clothing 


^c^6 Voyage of the Novara. 

scattered through every part of the island, had no doubt 
essentially contributed to the speedy diffusion of the malady. 
Of the thirty white settlers, who had all been inoculated, 
only one was attacked, and he soon got well again. In 
August, 1854, tlie destroyer disappeared almost as suddenly 
as he came, and has since then spared Puynipet a second 
visit, but wherever one goes the traces of the disease are 
visible in the faces and on the bodies of the natives. 

While picking up this information, we were getting nearer 
and nearer to Roankiddi Harbour on the S.W. of the island, 
and Tellet now stated he could not undertake to conduct us 
further, as there resided a pilot in the harbour whom he 
was not unwilling to give a job to. Another boat was now 
approaching the frigate, which had on board the regular 
pilot of Roankiddi Harbour, a Virginia Negro, named 
Johnson. Our man Tellet now took his leave, and set out in 
his boat on his retui*n to Middle Harbour. Many a longing 
glance did we cast at the spot, where for the first time we 
were to be privileged to examine the wonders of the coral 
beds of the South Sea. For Puynipet is one of the finest 
examples known of a lofty island of the great ocean regu- 
larly hemmed in by wall-like reefs, by far the majority of 
the other islands being mere low '' atolls." Unfortunately 
the breeze was unsteady and very light ; the sky looked so 
gloomy and threatening that we had to haul off again from 
the island, and steer to the S.E., so as not to approach the 
reef too closely during the night. In the morning we once 

Difficulty of ai^'proacliing the Island. 557 

more neared the island, under tlie influence of a gentle west 
wind, having run 15 miles out during the night. Gradually 
the small wooded or rocky islets hove in sight again, which, 
stretching northward from the great central mass, 2860 feet 
in height, surround the lofty island like a ring, inside of 
the wall-reef, which encompasses it at a distance of from one 
to two miles. We tacked about during the whole day with 
light variable winds from the west, and by evening had got 
sufficiently near our anchorage, that every one expected by a 
last tack to fetch it ere night set in, when the breeze sud- 
denly shifted, died away, and once more compelled us to 
withdraw to a safe distance from the island, and pass the 
night under easy sail. At length, on 18th September, a 
fresh leading wind from the westward promised to carry us 
in without further delay. 

Right in front of us, and with not a cloud to interrupt the 
view, lay this extinct volcano of an island, densely covered 
with the most luxuriant verdure. Only at its N.E. corner 
there sprang suddenly into the air a naked, castellated rock, 
about 1000 feet high or so, cut off horizontally above, and 
with perpendicular sides, which we were informed was a small 
island (Dochokoits), separated by a narrow channel from the 
main island. Gradually, on either side of the isle, several 
rocky points became visible, which steadily increased in di- 
mension, and began to stretch towards each other, till they 
looked like a row of pearls densely sprinkled in the air above 
the horizon ; after which a number of thin, small, white 

558 Voyage of the Novara. 

clouds suddenly rose and disappeared above the dark blue 
surface of the sea, flickering here and there like flames. This 
was our first glimpse of the island-reef and the surf-beaten 
coral, seen under the influence of a mirage, when, as is very 
frequently the case in tropical climates, the temperature of 
the surface of the water, and consequently of the immediately 
adjacent strata of atmosphere, is higher than those next above. 
Having got within about a couple of miles, the dark points 
resolved themselves into verdant cocoa-groves, patches of 
which adorn the outermost reef, while the small clouds now 
proved to be the tumultuous lash of a tremendous blinding surf, 
on the reef which separated the rise and fall of the ocean out- 
side from the smooth placid surface of the broad channel, which 
inside the ring-shaped coral reef forms those singular natural 
canals, on which the natives in their frail canoes can sail 
right round the island, sheltered from the violence of the 
waves, and which, at those places where there is sufficient 
depth, and a breach in the line of reef admits of ingress from 
without, affords for even large sized ships a secure harbour, 
according to observation in 6° 47' N., 158° 13' 3" E. 

We now endeavoured to enter between Nahlap Island on 
the west, covered with cocoa-palms and bread-fruit, and 
Sandy Island on the east, surrounded with a belt of raging 
foam, its coral masses clothed with low scanty brushwood. 
But almost immediately '' Halt " was once more the order. 
In order to get into the harbour proj^er, which lay between 
two majestic banks of coral rising from the level of the sea 

First Impression of the Coral Reefs. 559 

like an elegantly hewn clock, we had to pass tln-ovigh a very- 
narrow channel in the reef, barely 50 fathoms wide, which 
indeed was pretty plainly indicated by the colour of the 
smooth water, besides being well marked out by regular 
buoys, but winds in a direction first westerly and then north- 
wards, and accordingly was inaccessible to us with a west 
wind blowing. There was no alternative but to let the an- 
chor go among the naked coral rocks forming the sub-marine 
plateau over which we now lay. But anxiety for the safety 
of the ship did not admit of her being suffered to remain in 
circumstances so dangerous. While therefore the frigate once 
more made sail, a survey of the island and harbom- was ordered 
by a boat expedition. 

About 9 A.M. the Commodore, accompanied by some of the 
scientific staff, set off for land in a slim, flat-floored, Venetian 
gondola, admirably adapted for such j)^rposes. When we 
had passed the twin Nahlap Islands and Sandy Island, we 
found ourselves in a channel about 100 fathoms in length by 
not quite 80 in width, which led directly into the interior of 
this huge basin constructed exclusively by insects, and sur- 
rounded by a triple wall of coral, an unfathomable, mirror-like 
pool, in which a ship lies calm and motionless as though 
in a dock. A buoy at the S.W. angle of the channel indi- 
cates some sunken rocks. On the farther side of the coral 
reef one perceives the low-lying group of the Ants' Islands, 
tliickly covered with trees. Although our Venetian boat drew 
hardly any water, we nevertheless found great difficulty in 

560 Voyage of the Nov ar a. 

advancing in proportion as we approached the shore. The 
fact too that it was ebb-tide served to increase the obstacles 
that beset our progress. Every moment the gondola touched 
upon sand-bank or rock. The utmost caution had therefore 
to be exercised, as we steered for some huts which were visi- 
ble under the cocoa-palms quite close to the shore. Following 
the deeper more navigable channels, we reached the mouth of 
a river running from N.E., the low swampy soil on either 
side being covered with dense mangrove bushes, but all our 
efforts to push through the thickets so as to reach the huts 
proved unavailing, while the whole soil seemed to be beset 
with the stumps of the mangrove, like so many sharp stakes. 
After pushing a short distance uj) this mangrove channel, from 
which on either side smaller channels diverged, we retraced 
our steps, as there was no appearance of the scene changing, 
nor any appearance of human habitation, and endeavoured 
to reach the land near the huts already mentioned, by some 
of the deeper channels. Just then a white settler came 
to our assistance, who, standing on the shore, indicated to 
us by manual signs the clue out of this labyrinth of coral, 
and enabled us by a less shallow channel to reach one of the 
few points at which a landing is practicable. For at almost 
every point of the shore the mangroves, by the tenacity of 
their roots, prevent, or at any rate impede, the approach of 
boats, the natives themselves being confined to the use of 
those few spots where rivers or other natural channels afford 
means of access. Close to the shore appeared three wooden 

A Scotch Surgeons Divelling in Pwjnlpet. 561 

huts thatched with bamboo and pahn leaves. This was a small 
colony of whites, whom a singular freak of destiny seemed to 
have cast away upon these islands, where they earned their 
subsistence as wood-cutters, smiths, fishermen, &c. They call 
their settlement Rei. The first hut we entered was inhabited 
by a Scotchman, who called himself ^'Dr. Cook," and prac- 
tised as a physician. He had lived 26 years on the island. 
His dwelling consisted of three large apartments, which up to 
a certain height were shut off" from each other by thin 
wooden walls, so that the air could circulate freely over-head 
throughout the entire length of the hut. Everything was 
neat and orderly : in the first room, which apparently was 
used as a surgery, stood a number of medicine bottles duly 
labelled, and crucibles, which at the very first glance revealed 
the avocation of the possessor. Cook, who seemed far past the 
half century, with pale, faded, expressionless features, and a 
long silver-grey beard, clothed in a coarse woollen jacket, and 
with the huge, broad-brimmed, worn-out straw-hat pulled 
low upon his wrinkled forehead, had quite caught the listless, 
motionless deportment of the natives. Nothing roused him, 
nothing surprised him ; it took considerable time to elicit from 
him any reply to our questions. The other white settlers in 
the adjoining islands were not much more communicative ; all 
showed in their conduct a certain embarrassment, which left 
little doubt that theirs had not been an altogether blameless 
life in former days. Most of them were surrounded by a 
number of native wives, who had covered their bodies with a 

VOL. II. 2 O 

362 Voyage of the Novara. 

230wder of an intense yellow, prepared from tlie Curcuma longa^ 
and wore merely a piece of calico round the loins, while 
splendid yellow blossoms set off the raven blackness of their 
long- hair. 

We now followed up a narrow foot-path, which led to a 
gently sloping eminence behind the huts, and soon founci 
ourselves surrounded by bread-fruit trees and banana, while 
from time to time a black basaltic rock cropped out from 
among the red, marl-like soil, and beautiful small lizards 
with sapphire-blue tails that shone with a metallic lustre, 
shot about with the velocity of an arrow among the stones. 
The prevailing formation, as in almost all the volcanic islands 
of the Pacific, is an amorphous basalt-lava, full of olivin and 
porphyry. On gaining the summit of the hill, we found 
there a solitary, wretched-looking hut. A dog, a few hens, 
and a phlegmatic native worn away to a shadow, whom the 
sudden appearance of a number of European strangers hardly 
seemed to rouse from his apathy, were the only living crea- 
tures visible. On our requesting to be furnished with a light, 
a wrinkled old hag crept out of the hut, and handed us a piece 
of lighted wood. The dusky old woman was presented with 
a cigar, which she forthwith lit, and proceeded to smoke with 
unmistakeable satisfaction. To our request for fresh cocoa- 
nuts with which to quench om' thirst, the man, without mov- 
ing from his place, shouted a few words in the direction of the 
forest, which was speedily replied to, when some young girls 
came forth giggling and romping, who brought us what we 

Ascend the Main Stream of the Roankiddi. 363 

had asked for, fresh phickcd from the slender cocoa-stem, as 
well as a sugar-cane, and some ginger [Zingiber officinalis) ; all 
these refreshments were handed us amid much hilarity by a 
lot of daughters of Eve, young, not the least shy, but by no 
means attractive, whom a present of two small mirrors in 
return sent away in a state of enthusiastic delight. On'our 
return to Dr. Cook's hut on the shore, several natives had 
approached who bartered mussels and fresh fruit for tobacco, 
which they preferred to everything, besides a number of 
young females, who were retailing, from small bags hung 
round their persons, the different animals they had collected 
the same mornins^ at ebb-tide amonf? the coral reefs. 

One of the white settlers offered his services as guide, to 
pilot us up the Roankiddi river as far as a village of the natives 
about two miles inland, where the chief of the nation dwelt, 
and several American missionaries had formed a settlement. 
Before reaching the main stream, which is about 100 feet 
wide and is densely wooded on either side, we had to j^ass 
various small branches and canals, which appeared to be arti- 
ficially constructed, and wind about in a succession of extra- 
ordinary meanderings beneath an elastic covering of conical 
mangrove roots. For about a mile inwards there was nothing 
but dreary, swampy, unlovely mangrove forest, after which 
the vegetation on either shore began to assume an unusually 
variegated but thoroughly tropical appearance. Palms, bread- 
fruit trees, pandanus trees, papayas, caladias, Barringtonias, 
were the chief representatives of this abounding forest flora. 


564 Voyage of the Novara. 

The animals on this island seem to be less numerous and less 
varied ; there are no large ones at all. Of doves, as also of 
sand-pipers and parrots, we saw some very beautiful species, of 
which the fowling-pieces of our sportsmen furnished numerous 
specimens for our zoological collection. All along the bank of 
the river and around the hills lay scattered at will, under the 
shade of the most beautiful and abundant vegetation, the dwell- 
ings of the natives. Near where the pretty Roankiddi falls into 
the sea, rises on the left bank the handsome mission house built 
of wood, which serves the missionaries for school, church, and 
residence in one. Close by is a stone building, which serves 
as a larder. Unfortunately, the sole missionary, Mr. Sturges 
of Pennsylvania, was absent on a tour of inspection, and only 
his assistant (a native of the Sandwich Islands, who had re- 
ceived his education in the States) was at home with his 
family. A third missionary, also a native of the Sandwich 
Islands, lives at what is called Foul-weather Harbour, where 
he also occupies his time with meteorological observations. 

The mission, which has been in the island since 1851, 
is supported at considerable expense. A schooner, the pro- 
perty of the American Missionary Society, keeps up regular 
communication with the neighbouring islands and the Sand- 
wich Islands, and supplies the missionaries with provisions 
and other necessaries. These industrious, energetic men 
have quite recently made experiments in planting several 
sorts of vegetables, as also tobacco and sugar-cane, nearer 
their houses, in the hope, if successful, of inciting the 

Forest-palace of a Native Chief. 565 

natives to similar exertions. The gi-eat resources at the 
disposal of the Protestant missionaries, and the circumstance 
that they attend to the temporal as well as the eternal weal of 
their dusky neophytes, exhausting their medical skill in 
illness, educating their children, ministering to their wants 
both by advice and co-operation, must be regarded as the 
main causes of the rapid spread of Protestantism throughout 
the races of the Pacific Ocean. We have seen missions, of 
which the schools, places of worship, and dwelling-houses, 
constructed of iron, were imported from the United States 
ready made, while the expenses of maintenance were defray- 
ed by an annual grant of 20,000 dollars. What a gratifying 
contrast to the wretched aj)pliances with which Catholic over- 
sea missions are compelled to eke out a precarious existence ! 
We landed at a spot where the Roankiddi promised to be 
navigable for vessels of a better class than the hollowed-out 
canoes of the natives, and for the remainder of the distance to 
the chiefs residence we followed a footpath tlu-ough the forest. 
Close to the landing-place is a large, hall-like building, which 
is used as an assembly-room by the natives on the occasion of 
their festivities. Around the interior of this are ranged 
couches stuffed with straw for families of rank, not unlike 
berths roimd a ship's cabin. The centre of the hall is set 
apart for slaves and servants, who dm-ing these rude reunions 
are busily employed preparing food and di'ink for strangers. 
As often as a meeting is deemed necessary, invitations are 
sent off to the various chiefs requesting their co-operation. 

^66 Voyage of the Novara. 

On very important occasions these are intoned through a 
conk. As soon as all are assembled the king lays the subject- 
matter of the debate before them, when every one present is 
at liberty to exj^ress his opinion. Frequently these discus- 
sions become very animated, especially when the orators 
happen to have partaken too freely of Kawa, when only the 
interference of the less excited chiefs can prevent the disput- 
ants from coming to blows. When we saw it, there were in 
the hall of justice, as it might be termed, a number of huge, 
lengthy, but elegant canoes, painted red, which gave it 
rather the appearance of a shed than a festive hall. 

The footpath to the chief's residence led through a most 
beautiful tropical landscape. The estate of the Nannekin (as 
the natives designate a king in their own language) was 
laid out quite in the European fashion, and the entrance was 
indicated by a wooden gateway. The house itself, a lengthy 
oblong of wood and cane-work, with a roof of palm-leaves, 
and built upon a sort of platform of two or three courses of 
stone, and furnished in every part with numerous large 
apertures serving as windows, presented from without a very 
comfortable, even imposing appearance ; but the interior was 
bare, ill-equipped, and sadly out of order. A row of wooden 
columns, irregularly cut, and partially covered with gay- 
coloured stuffs, running parallel with the thin exterior walls, 
formed a narrow passage, a closer view of which was, how- 
ever, shut off by cotton hangings stretching across. The 
clothes and other property of the family hung here at 

Interior of the Chief's House. — Preparation of Breadfruit. 567 

random, suspended from pegs and lines all romid tlic wide 
hall, and in the middle a hole had been excavated, which 
apparently was intended for a fire-place. Among the articles 
of furniture we specially noticed a large iron chest, with iron 
clampings, and a very singular-looking loom, on which a 
fabric was being woven in variegated colours. The chief 
was not at home, and had to be summoned, his timely 
absence affording an excellent opportunity for examining 
the environs of the palace a little more closely. In im- 
mediate proximity were a number of bread-fruit trees {^Dong- 
dong\ the fruit of which forms the staple diet of the natives, 
and has long been prepared by them in quite a unique 

The bread-fruit, so soon as it is ripe, is stripped of its husk, 
and cut into small pieces. These the natives place in pits 
dug for the purpose about three feet deep, in which they 
are placed in layers carefully vrrapped in banana-leaves so as 
to prevent moisture reaching them. Thus prepared, the pits 
are filled up to within a few inches of the surface, covered 
with leaves, and weighted with heavy stones so distributed 
as to diffuse an equal pressure tliroughout. Thus each pit is 
both air and water tight. After a short time fermentation 
sets in, till the whole is converted into a substance resembling 
cheese. The original idea of thus storing the bread-fruit is 
said, according to tradition, to have been suggested to the 
natives by a violent hurricane having at a remote period 
levelled all the bread-fruit trees on the island, thus causing a 

568 Voyage of the Novara. 

great famine. The fruit thus treated continues fit for con- 
sumption for years, and, despite its sour taste and nauseous 
odour when exhumed, it is regarded by the natives as a most 
palatable and nutritive dish, when well kneaded, placed 
between two banana leaves, and baked between two hot 
stones. Besides tlie bread-fruit, the principal articles of food 
in use among the natives are cocoa-nuts, sugar-cane, yams, 
pigeons, turtle, fish, and trepang, the sort of sea cucumber of 
which we have already given a description, and which the 
natives eat in the raw state. 

They also eat taro [Caladium esculentmn), a beautiful 
bulbous-rooted plant of the Aroidea tribe, with its broad 
elegant leaves, which, together with wild ginger and 
turmeric (which is used sometimes for food, sometimes 
for anointing the person, or dyeing their dresses) and the 
plant they call Kawa {^Piper Methijsticum)^ grow in great 
profusion on the property of the Nannekin. 

As in all the South Sea Islands, the juice of the Kawa is 
used in Puynipet for distilling an intoxicating beverage, 
which indeed plays a conspicuous part in all their solemni- 
ties. But the mode of preparing it is somewhat better 
calculated to tempt the palate, since it is not, as elsewhere, 
first chewed by the women, but rubbed between two 
large stones, wetted, and then drawn off in cocoa-nut shells. 
The leading chief is entitled to the first shells of the prepared 
Kawa, or, if he is not present, the chief priest, who mutters a 
few prayers over it ere drinking it. 

Sfjuiptoms of and Mode of Preimriiuj the Kmva. 569 

The liquid, as thus procured from this species of pepper, is 
of a brownish yellow colour, somewhat liketliat of coffee into 
which milk has been poured. The taste is sweet and agree- 
able, producing a glow in the stomach, and induces a sort of 
intoxication, widely different however from the form that 
alcoholic inebriations assume with us. Men in the habit of 
drinking Kawa neither stagger about, nor sj)eak thick and 
loud, when under its influence. A sort of shiver affects the 
whole frame, and their gait becomes listless and slow, but 
they never lose consciousness. In its last stage, the person 
affected feels an extraordinary weakness in all his joints ; 
headache and an irresistible inclination to go to sleep 
supervene, and a state of most complete repose becomes 
an absolute necessity. 

The custom of Kawa drinking is diffused over the whole 
of the islands of the Pacific. It even appears to have 
become a necessary of life among the natives of Polynesia, 
just as betel-chewing and palm- wine are to the Malays 
and Hindoos, opium-smoking and samchoo to the Chinese, 
chicha to the Mexican races, and coca to the South Ameri- 
can Indians. 

In former times, on certain of the islands, the chiefs had 
regular watchers, whose duty it was to guard their monarchs 
from being disturbed when thus reposing. A dog which 
dared to bark, a cock that was venturesome enough to crow, 
were forthwith put to death. The too liberal or long- 
continued indulgence in Kawa seems to generate a peculiar 

570 Voyage of the Novara. 

cuticular disease. Inveterate Kawa drinkers seem haggard 
or melancholy, their eyes are sunk, their teeth of a bright 
yellow, their skin dry and chopped, and the whole body is 
covered with boils ; but those in whom such sores heal up 
again, point with pride to the cicatrices that mark where 
they occurred. The more of these scars a Kawa drinker 
can show, the higher is his character. Besides pro- 
ducing unconsciousness, Kawa also induces exceedingly 
erotic dreams. 

According to the information which the white settlers 
gave us respecting the method of cultivation of the soil of 
Puynipet and its climate, it seems that sugar-cane, coffee, cot- 
ton, rice, tobacco, &c., would be certain to succeed. Sugar- 
cane is found even now in the wild state ; and to a certain 
extent it forms an article of food of the natives, who suck the 

The chief of Eoankiddi is a handsome young man of lofty 
stature, strong frame, of dark brown almost bronze skin, and 
agreeable, winning expression. With the exception of the 
usual apron of palm-leaves, and a bright red belt, he was 
naked, and wore a green circlet on his fine, lustrous black 
hair, and a piece of sugar-cane in his right hand. His arms 
and legs were _very neatly tattooed. He seemed quite to 
understand the use of a red Turkish fez with blue tassel, 
which we presented to him, and took from his head its 
own exceedingly picturesque covering. Having been ap- 
prized of the friendly nature of our visit, he begged us to 

Interview with the King and Queen of RoanJciddi. 571 

enter his house, which was not so easy a process as it seems, 
since the only access was by one of the windows, about tliree 
feet from the ground. Tlie Nannekin, however, set us the 
example, and we followed. He first invited us to sit upon 
European chairs, and ordered his pretty young wife to fetch 
us cocoa-nut milk. It was the first time we had ever tasted 
this drink of the natural man in the goblet of civilization ! 
How differently did this invaluable drink taste, when quaffed 
from the fresh green shell, than in the artificial vessel of 
human manufacture ! The natives of Puynipet did not, like 
those of Nicobar, show their dexterity in opening the young 
cocoa-nut by means of a slash. Here the husk is peeled off, 
and an opening bored with much trouble till the fluid 
contents gush out — a process so tedious, and manifesting 
so little ingenuity, that one would rather expect it to be 
adopted by a European, who for the first time in his life 
was opening a cocoa-nut, than from a child of the tropics. 
After the queen had presented with her dainty little hands 
the cocoa-nut drink to the foreign guests, she squatted her- 
self smiling and laughing on the earth beside the monarch, 
occasionally hiding herself with much natural grace behind 
her youthful husband, when she could not restrain a burst of 
mirth at the interest with which we seemed to regard many 
of the objects in her simple household. Nothing surprised 
her more than that we should attach such value to some 
baskets, plaited work, boxes, &c., as to be willing to ex- 
change articles of European make for them. Like all the 

57^ Voyage of the Nov ar a. 

other female8 we saw, the young queen wore nothing but a 
piece of yellow linen (//A"//), about five feet long, round her 
loins, which reached to her knees, and was attached by 
one extremity to the haunch. Her splendid black hair was 
adorned with a chaplet of yellow flowers, and her body, 
smeared with cocoa-nut oil, was plentifully besprinkled with 
turmeric (called by the natives Kitschi-ncang), Her legs and 
forearms were beautifully tattooed. 

The gown, or rather apron, worn by the men is made of 
the fresh leaves of the cocoa-palm, which, bleached and cut 
into narrow strips, are fastened at the upper end with a 
string, and then adorned with numerous flaj^s of red cloth. 
This gown stretches from the hips to about the knees, and 
is about two feet long. To be in the fashion at Puynipet, a 
dandy must wear at least six of these round his body ! The 
ladies of the island stain white calico with turmeric, yellow 
being apparently the favourite colour of the country. A 
bright-coloured light handkerchief usually covers the upper 
part of the body, and they adorn their long beautiful black 
tresses with the delicate flowers of the cocoa-palm. On 
high days the ladies wear red clothes hemmed with white 
calico. Such of the natives, however, as are converted to 
Christianity, appear in clothes made after the European 
fashion, although many a part of dress would still have to be 
remedied, ere a native of Puynipet or his better half would be 
presentable in a saloon. 

Men and women alike are tattooed from the loins to the 

Method of Tattooing. — Prevalence of Cuilcular Diseases. 573 

ancles, and from the elbows to tlie wrist. This curious 
practice is performed on both sexes at from ten to twelve 
years of age by old women, with whom it is a regular pro- 
fession. The blue colouring matter used is obtained from 
the abundant nut-like fruit of the Aleurites triloha, which they 
heat on the fire, and then peel off the hard crust which forms 
upon it. The operation is performed with the sharp point of 
a species of pine, or with a pointed instrument* made from 
fish-bone, which is placed upon the skin, when it is driven in 
with a slight blow, till the whole design comes out upon the 
body. Besides the turmeric already mentioned, we saw but 
one colouring stuJBP, dyeing red, which seemed to be obtained 
from Bixa Orellana, and is used by the natives to paint their 
canoes with. 

Many of the natives are subject to a very disgusting scaly 
eruption of the skin [Ichthyosis)^ but do not seem to feel any 
discomfort from it. Some travellers ascribe this to the 
immoderate use as an article of diet of raw uncooked fish. 
It is singular that this malady is found on all the islands 
near the equator, and was also found by Captain Cheyne 
among the Pellew Islanders. That shrewd observer once 
had on board for four months a native of Puynipet as 
servant, whose whole body was covered with this eruption, 
but who speedily lost every trace of it as soon as his chief 
diet was salt meat and vegetables. Beside this cuticular 

* The natives of the Engano Islands, to the west of Sumatra, use precisely 
similar instruments for the same purpose. 

574 Voyage of the Novara. 

malady, tlie natives are greatly afflicted with scurvy and 
intermittent fever. Most of their infants too suffer from 
Yaws* [Framhoesia), a disgusting eruption, called by the 
natives " Keutscli^'' which, however, disappears when the 
child has attained about its third or fourth year. The 
marks left by this malady when cicatrized might easily 
be mistaken for those of inoculation. 

The Nannekin, although the king of his tribe, nevertheless 
seemed on the whole to exercise but little influence over his 
subjects. Thus, for example, we were eye-witnesses of how 
he vainly attempted to induce two native boys to carry our 
bananas as far as our place of disembarkation. On the other 
hand, in all that concerned tradini? with forei":ners he 
seemed to be thoroughly alive to his own interest. One 
native who was driving a bargain with us for something, was 
informed forthwith of the value which the Nannekin as- 
signed to it. 

Money is as yet but little used at Puynipet as a medium of 
exchange, only the whites resident there and the chiefs take 
a few English and United States coins ; and many a native 
would generally not part for a silver dollar from an object 
which he will readily give for a piece of chewing tobacco or 
a common knife. The most useful articles for barter are 
pieces of bright-coloured calico, red shirts, hatchets, knives, 

* Yaws is a very common disease among the lower class of the western and 
eastern coas^population of England. It is unknown almost in Ireland, where the 
poorer classes rarely eat fish. 

Articles suitahle for Barter. — Difference of Races. 575 

axes, straight swords, muskets, ammunition, biscuit, old 
clothes, and tobacco.* 

Of the latter article American Cavendish or negro-head in 
longish pieces is the most in repute. The Puynipetanese have 
no special fondness for cigars, nor do they use pipes, but only 
chew passionately tobacco. As they are unacquainted with 
the use of the Betel, their teeth are universally beautiful, and 
of a brilliant white. 

There are on the island five tribes, wholly independent of 
each other, — the Roankiddi, the Metelemia, the N(5t, the 
Tchokoits, and the Awnak, none, however, numbering much 
above 1500 souls, the most numerous and important being the 

Each king, we are told, has a minister whose power almost 
rivals his own. Next in rank to the minister are the nobles, who 
bear the following strange-sounding titles : Talk, Washy, Nane- 
by, Noatch, Shoe-Shabut, and Groen-wani ; after these come 
such as are not of noble birth, but have earned them through 
illustrious deeds, and have been rewarded witli estates. On 
the death of the king he is succeeded by whichever of his nobles 

* Captain Cheyne adds to the foregoing lists the following articles ; fish-hooks, 
butcher's-knives, chisels, hand-saws, bill-hooks, planes, augers, piles, iron-pots, razors, 
needles, twine, drills, gay parti-coloured cotton cloths, cotton hose, woollen cloths, 
trinkets, glass-beads, straw-hats, chests with lock, key, and handles, spirits. The 
equivalents as laid down by Captain Cheyne are as follows : — 

12 hens = 24 sticks of negro-head tobacco, or 4 ells of caUco. 

100 yams = 10 „ „ „ 

100 bread-fruit = 10 „ „ „ 

100 cocoa-nuts = 10 „ „ „ 

1 cluster of bananas = 2 „ „ „ 

576 Voyage of the Novara. 

has the title of Talk, the others rising one grade. The mon- 
arch has the right of freely disposing of his property. As a 
rule he leaves it to his sons, but if he have none he usually 
bequeaths it to the next sovereign. Between the monarch 
and his courtiers some quaint patriarchal customs prevail. 
Thus the first ripe bread-fruit is brought to the king. When- 
ever a chief uses a new turtle or fish net, the prey during a 
certain number of days is sent to the king. Another mark of 
the respect paid to the king, as also by all ranks to their su- 
periors, is to be found in the custom for a native who meets 
another of higher rank in a canoe, — he cowers down in his own 
boat till the other has passed by, the two canoes approaching 
on the side opposite the outrigger, so that the person of 
superior condition may, if he see fit, satisfy himself of the 
identity of the other. 

The Awnaks and Tchokoits had, at the period of our visit, 
been at war with each other for six months, and it is signifi- 
cant of the ferocity and courage of both parties, that not a 
single combatant had thus far been wounded on either side ! 
Their weapons are chiefly spears of hard wood, six feet long, 
the barb, instead of iron, being made of fish-bones, thorns, or 
ground mussel-shells, which they throw with great dexterity ; 
also hatchets, long knives, and old muskets, obtained fi^om the 
whale-fishers in return for yams and tortoiseshell. At present 
there are about 1500 muskets in all on the island, and each na- 
tive possesses at least one, some of the chiefs having as many 
as three, besides ample ammunition. Singular to say, these 

Curious Martial Customs. — Ethnological Speculations. 577 

formidable auxiliaries are rarely called into play in any of 
their wars, the fatal effect of fire-arms having contributed not 
a little to the promotion of harmony and peace between the 
various tribes ! Their warriors are selected from among the 
most powerful men of the tribe, and as a rule they behave 
with much consideration to the women and children, whom 
they almost always spare. When either party sues for peace, 
a neutral party is sent to the monarch of the opposite tribe 
with a few Kawa roots. If these are accepted, the struggle is 
considered over, and a succession of friendly visits are there- 
upon exchanged between the chiefs of the two tribes, which 
are usually followed up by festivities and much consumption 
of Kawa. 

As to the narratives of most earlier travellers that the 
island is inhabited by two entirely distinct races, the one 
yellow the other black, we could neither see nor hear of any- 
thing which would confirm such a statement. It seemed 
more probable that the diversity of skin and hair among the 
various tribes was exclusively caused by a variety of crosses, 
which are still frequent, and in former times must have been 
still more prevalent. The present population consists of 
whites, negroes, and yellow-coloured aborigines, who, as 
speaking a dialect allied to that of Polynesia, seem to belong 
to the Malay-Pol}mesian stirps. The present white settlers are 
English and North Americans ; formerly they were chiefly 
Spanish and Portuguese who traded with the natives. Negro 

slaves and free blacks have also occasionally visited the island, 
\0L n. 2 p 

57^ Voijage of the Novara. 

or been left there for good and all. These considerations 
alone suffice to explain certain appearances among the natives, 
such as brown or yellow skins, with crisp woolly hair, and 
very full lips, without any more marked characteristics of the 
Ethiopian race. We noticed one native with woolly hair of a 
reddish hue, but otherwise of strongly marked Malay features, 
and on inquiring into his ancestry, were informed in reply 
that his father was a Portuguese (negro understood), and his 
mother a native. 

The daughter of Doctor Cook, the Scotchman already men- 
tioned, of whose union with a native woman of the island 
there was issue a handsome well-shaped mestiza of a light 
yellow colour, strongly recalling the stately, elegant quad- 
roons of New Orleans and St. Domingo, had intermarried 
with a full-blooded negro of the district of Columbia, U. S., 
from which resulted a new and entirely dissimilar .admixture. 
Their children had the face of the mother, with the woolly 
head of the father. 

At all events it may be laid down with some degree of cer- 
tainty, that the aboriginal races, especially those inhabiting the 
Caroline Archipelago, are not of the Pelagian Mongols, nor are 
they an offshoot of the Mongolian race of the Asiatic continent, 
as Lesson maintained ; also that Puynipet has not been 
peopled by the Papuan negroes ; that the woolly crisp hair of 
so many of its inhabitants is mainly explained by the inti- 
macy between the black crews of the whalers (it being well- 
known that a large proportion of the crews of the American 

Personal Characteristics of the Natives. 579 

whalers are negroes), some 50 or 60 of which visit the island 
every year, and often remain for several weeks taking in pro- 
visions and other stores. 

Puynipet has been for some years past the chief rendezvous 
of the whalers in the Caroline Archipelago, because it is of 
all the islands the most accessible, has the best and safest 
harbours, and because fuel and water are procurable thence 
in unlimited quantities. 

The complexion of the natives is of a clear copper hue, and 
the average height of the males is 5 feet 8 in. ; the women 
are much smaller than the men, witli delicate features and 
flexible forms. The sons of the chiefs are usually well 
foi'med, and lighter in colour than the majority of the popu- 
lation, the consequence of their being less exposed to the 
weather, and in any part of the world would pass for elegant 
men. The nose is arched, the mouth wide with full lips and 
dazzling teeth. Tlie flap of the ear is bored in both sexes, 
but is rarely much enlarged by artificial means. Both 
men and women have beautiful black liaii', which they take 
great care of. 

The men have neither beard nor mustachios. They eradi- 
cate the hair so soon as it makes its appearance on the cheeks 
by means of mussel-shells, or two little jjieces of tortoise-shell 
sharpened. The women are usually pretty, but as the girls 
marry very young they soon lose the freshness of youth. 
Their complexion is much faii'er than that of the men. The 
cause of this is to be found in theii' wearing a sort of upper 

2 r 2 

580 Voyage of the Nov ar a. 

robe of calico ; a large piece of stuif with a hole in the centre 
through which to put the head, which thus protects their 
bodies somewhat from the direct rays of the sun. 

The natives are said to be very temj^erate and methodical 
in their habits of life. They rise at daybreak, bathe in the 
river, take a little vegetable food, anoint their bodies with 
cocoa-nut oil, after which they sprinkle themselves plentifully 
with powdered turmeric. This done, they address themselves 
to some simple avocation, which they prosecute till noon, 
when they once more withdraw to their huts, bathe, and par- 
take of another equally frugal repast. The rest of the day is 
spent in amusements and mutual visiting. Towards sunset 
they take a third meal, and as they have neither torches nor 
artificial light of any sort, they usually retire early to rest, 
unless fishing or dancing by moonlight. 

Much respect and consideration is paid to the weaker sex 
throughout the island, they not being put to any work which 
does not come within their regular sphere of duty. All out- 
door work is done by the men, who build the huts and 
canoes, plant yams and Kawa, fish, transport the food from 
the plantation to the house, and even cook it. 

The women are chiefly occupied within-doors, in fishing, 
or cleaning the vegetables, most of their time being taken 
up with preparing head-dresses, weaving girdles, sewing 
together palm or pandanus leaves for clothes, plaiting elegant 
baskets, and looking after the house and children. 

Never at any time patterns of virtue and chastity, the im- 

Courtship and Marriage. — Funeral Ceremonies. 381 

portatlon of European trinkets and luxuries of all sorts lias 
greatly increased the spread of immorality among the native 
women, who are actuated by an insatiate, irresistible craving 
to possess articles of European manufacture. 

Wlien a native wishes to marry, he makes a present to the 
father of the girl he wishes to marry ; if not returned, it is 
understood his addresses are accepted. Thereupon invita- 
tions are issued to a merry-making, with feast, and dance, 
and revel, after which the bridegroom conducts his bride to 
his dwelling. AVhen she dies the widower marries her sister, 
the brother in like manner being required to marry his 
widowed sister-in-law in the case of the death of the husband, 
even though he may happen to be already married. Under 
certain circumstances a man is at liberty to divorce his wife 
and take another ; a woman, on the other hand, enjoys no 
such privilege, unless she happen to be of higher ranlv. The 
chiefs usually have several wives, polygamy, as among the 
Mormons, being only limited by the means of providing sub- 
sistence. The women are of an unusually gossiping, talkative 
turn, they are quite incapable of keeping theii' own secrets, 
and many a delinquency is generally kno^\^l at the very 
moment of its commission. 

The funeral ceremonies seem to have undergone some 
modification since the natives began to have intercom^se 
with Europeans. In former times the dead were enveloped 
in straw mats, and kept for a considerable time in the huts : 
through the influence of the missionaries, apparently, they 

382 Voyage of the Novara. 

have adopted the European custom of interring their dead 
in certain special places. On the death of a chief or any- 
exalted person, the female relatives of the deceased assemble 
to mourn for a specific period, and betray their sorrow by 
loud sobs and lamentations by day and dances by night. 
The connections of the deceased cut oif their hair as a mark 
of their sorrow. All the goods and clothes of the defunct 
are carried away by whoever is nearest or first possesses him- 
self of them, and this custom is so universal that objects thus 
obtained are thenceforth considered as lawful property. 

The natives usually pray to the spirits of their departed 
chiefs, whom they implore to grant them success in fishing, 
rich harvests in bread-fruit and yams, the arrival of numerous 
foreign ships with beautiful articles for barter, and a variety 
of similar matters. The priests of their idols profess to be 
able to read the future, and the natives place the most im- 
plicit confidence in these predictions. They believe that the 
priest is inspired with the spirit of a deceased chief, and that 
every word they utter when in this excited state is dictated 
by the departed. When any of these prophecies fail, as is 
often enough the case, the cunning priest pretends that another 
more powerful spirit has interfered, and forcibly prevented 
the accomplishment of what they had foretold. 

The religion of this primitive people is very sim^^le. They 
have neither idols nor temple, and although they believe in 
a future state after death, they seem to have no religious 
customs or festivals of any sort. Their notion of a future 

singular Ideas of another World. 583 

state is under such circumstances exceedingly extraor- 

Their abode after death they believe to be surrounded by 
a colossal wall amid a fathomless abyss, in fact a sort of 
fortress. The only portal into this Elysian abode is guarded 
by an old woman, whose duty it is to hurl back into the 
yawning deep the shadows of the departed, who are com- 
pelled to spring upwards from th-e abyss. Such of the 
shadows as succeed in eluding the evil spirit and effecting 
an entrance are for ever happy; on the other hand, those 
whom the malicious female demon succeeds in precipitating 
into the abyss sink into the region of endless woe and 

Tlie native festivals, as a rule, take precedence of every 
other business, no matter how pressing. Every year the 
king visits the various villages and settlements of those of his 
tribe, at which period the chief festivities take place, the 
chiefs vieing with each other in entertaining him. Enor- 
mous quantities of yam and bread-fruit are on such occasions 
cooked two days previous, and Kawa is drunk to excess. 

Their dances are far from unbecoming, and are quite 
free from those lascivious gestures wliich are so often seen at 
the festivals of the other inhabitants of the South Sea. The 
dancers are usually unmarried lads and girls, who stand 
opposite each other in long rows. While keeping time with 
their feet to the music, they accompany the dance with 
gi-aceful motions of the arms and upper part of the body. 

5 84 Voyage of the Novara. 

Occasionally they throw tlieir arms out, snap their fingers, 
and then clap the hands together. Every movement is 
performed witli extraordinary precision, and at the same 
moment by all the dancers. Their sole musical instrument 
is a small flute made of bamboo-cane, the notes of which 
they draw forth by inserting one end in the nostril and blow- 
ing gently, while tlieir hands are busy fingering the holes in 
the usual way. 

Their drum is a piece of hollowed-out wood with the skin 
of a shark stretched over it, of the shape of a sand-glass. 
This is struck with the fingers of the right hand, the instru- 
ment being hung on the left side. The sound somewhat 
resembles the Tom-tom of the Hindoos. The drummer sits 
cross-legged on the ground, and accompanies the beat of the 
drum with apposite words. 

As to the monumental ruins of the interior of Puynipet 
which have never yet been visited and described by scientific 
travellers, we were informed that they consisted of nothing 
more than a large number of colossal rough-hewn blocks of 
basalt in the heart of the forest, near Metelenia harbour. 
The simplicity of the native, in the absence of all means of 
accounting for them naturally, sees in these the grand forms of 
the spirits of departed chiefs. Experienced travellers, on the 
other hand, are of opinion that in this primeval forest, where 
now only rocky d(5bris lie scattered about, there once stood 
strong fortifications, such as indeed no savage people could 
have erected, and that the character of the ruins evidences a 

Theory of alternate Elevation and Depression exemplified. 58^ 

high state of civilization in those who erected them. Some 
of the blocks are 8 or 10 feet long, hexagonal, and must 
evidently have been brought from some other country, since,